Pope Francis recruits Naomi Klein in climate change battle,
Guardian, Rosie Scammell, 28 June 15 Social activist ‘surprised but delighted’ to join top cardinal in high-level environment conference at the Vatican She is one of the world’s most high-profile social activists and a ferocious critic of 21st-century capitalism. He is one of the pope’s most senior aides and a professor of climate change economics. But this week the secular radical will join forces with the Catholic cardinal in the latest move by Pope Francis to shift the debate on global warming.
Naomi Klein and Cardinal Peter Turkson are to lead a high-level conference on the environment, bringing together churchmen, scientists and activists to debate climate change action. Klein, who campaigns for an overhaul of the global financial system to tackle climate change, told the Observer she was surprised but delighted to receive the invitation from Turkson’s office.
“The fact that they invited me indicates they’re not backing down from the fight. A lot of people have patted the pope on the head, but said he’s wrong on the economics. I think he’s right on the economics,” she said, referring to Pope Francis’s recent publication of an encyclical on the environment.
Release of the document earlier this month thrust the pontiff to the centre of the global debate on climate change, as he berated politicians for creating a system that serves wealthy countries at the expense of the poorest.
Activists and religious leaders will gather in Rome on Sunday, marching through the Eternal City before the Vatican welcomes campaigners to the conference, which will focus on the UN’s impending climate change summit.
Protesters have chosen the French embassy as their starting point – a Renaissance palace famed for its beautiful frescoes, but more significantly a symbol of the United Nations climate change conference, which will be hosted by Paris this December.
Nearly 500 years since Galileo was found guilty of heresy, the Holy See is leading the rallying cry for the world to wake up and listen to scientists on climate change. Multi-faith leaders will walk alongside scientists and campaigners, hailing from organisations including Greenpeace and Oxfam Italy, marching to the Vatican to celebrate the pope’s tough stance on environmental issues.
The imminent arrival of Klein within the Vatican walls has raised some eyebrows, but the involvement of lay people in church discussions is not without precedent.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, delivered the keynote address at a Vatican summit in April on climate change and poverty. Anticipating the encyclical, he said he was depending on the pope’s “moral voice and moral leadership” to speed up action…….
The pope will fly into New York on the first day of the meeting and address the UN general assembly, reinforcing his message and emboldening countries worst affected by climate change.
For Klein, the papal visit will mark a much-needed change in the way negotiators discuss the environment. “There’s a way in which UN discourse sanitises the extent to which this is a moral crisis,” she said. “It cries out for a moral voice.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/28/pope-climate-change-naomi-klein
Ban nuclear from Paris talks, green groups urge http://www.edie.net/news/6/Ban-nuclear-industry-from-Paris-talks–urge-green-groups/ 17 June 2015, source edie newsroom Brad Allen, An international coalition of clean energy groups have launched a new campaign asking for the nuclear power industry to be barred from the UN climate talks in Paris.
The Don’t Nuke The Climate campaign is being led by the Netherland’s World Information Service on Energy (WISE), and supported by green groups from Germany, Russia, France, Austria and the US.
WISE director Peer de Rijk explained: “We are calling on 1,000 civil society organisations to join us for a campaign to block the nuclear industry’s lobby activities at COP21 and instead ensure the world chooses clean energy. It is the only real climate solution.”
Under the Kyoto Protocol, nuclear energy is excluded from the possible solutions available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But de Rijk claims the industry is “in collaboration with certain nations, lobbying for their dangerous and polluting technology to be sold as a climate-friendly option during the Climate COP21”.
As an initial step for the campaign, the organising groups today launched an international petition, designed to lobby world leaders in support of nuclear-free clean energy.
The coalition is also planning a “mass demonstration” in Paris on the 12 December, in the midst of the UN conference.
“Nuclear power is in no way a climate solution,” said Michael Mariotte, the president of the US-based Nuclear Information and Resource Service, which is part of the campaign.
“Nuclear power remains dirty, dangerous and expensive; is not carbon-free; and encourages nuclear proliferation.”
No UK groups have yet joined the campaign, but the technology remains divisive.
According to the World Nuclear Association, the UK currently has 16 reactors generating about 18% of its electricity and all but one of these will be retired by 2023.
Three new generation plants – including the station at Hinkley Point – are expected to start coming online in 2023, with an estimated 19GW of capacity.
Green groups called the planning approval for the Hinkley power plant a “world record sell-out” and a “shocking decision”, but Circular Ecology’s Dr Craig Jones warned that nuclear provided valuable electricity to the UK, and if it was abandoned, the void would likely be filled by coal and gas.
As climate change unfolds around the globe, climate disasters will give undemocratic forces the justification they seek to commandeer resources, declare martial law, interfere with the market economy, and suspend democratic processes. This means that Americans who care about political freedom shouldn’t hold back when it comes to supporting climate scientists and acting to prevent the threats they have so clearly and fulsomely documented.
To do otherwise can only increase the chances that authoritarian forms of governance will come out ahead in a future in which our children and grandchildren, including those of the climate deniers, will all be the losers, as will our planet and so many of the other species on it. Recognizing and emphasizing this aspect of the climate equation may offer some hope of enabling more moderate Republicans to step back from the brinkmanship of denial.
Climate Deniers Are Quickly Bringing About Their Own Worst Nightmare How climate denial became second nature to the new Republican Party, The Nation Naomi Oreskes June 16, 2015 “……As unlikely as it might seem today, in the first half of the 20th century the Republicans were the party that most strongly supported scientific work, as they recognized the diverse ways in which it could undergird economic activity and national security. The Democrats were more dubious, tending to see science as elitist and worrying that new federal agencies like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health would concentrate resources in elite East Coast universities.
It is also intended to improve the prospect of a strong new UN global agreement to cut climate emissions. By adding a moral dimension to the well-rehearsed scientific arguments, Francis hopes to raise the ambition of countries above their own self-interest to secure a strong deal in a crucial climate summit in Paris in November.
The pope chose Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, as his namesake at the start of his papacy in 2011, saying the saint’s values reflected his own.
Explosive intervention by Pope Francis set to transform climate change debate, Guardian, John Vidal, 13 June 15 The most anticipated papal letter for decades will be published in five languages on Thursday. It will call for an end to the ‘tyrannical’ exploitation of nature by mankind. Could it lead to a step-change in the battle against global warming?
Pope Francis will call for an ethical and economic revolution to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality in a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Thursday.
In an unprecedented encyclical on the subject of the environment, the pontiff is expected to argue that humanity’s exploitation of the planet’s resources has crossed the Earth’s natural boundaries, and that the world faces ruin without a revolution in hearts and minds. The much-anticipated message, which will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops, will be published online in five languages on Thursday and is expected to be the most radical statement yet from the outspoken pontiff.
However, it is certain to anger sections of Republican opinion in America by endorsing the warnings of climate scientists and admonishing rich elites, say cardinals and scientists who have advised the Vatican.
On Wednesday, the Weather Channel launched a dramatic campaign it says is intended to help shift the climate change conversation from science to solutions.
The series of short videos, called Climate 25, is surprisingly political for a venue like the Weather Channel, and most are aimed at making the case for urgent action from a conservative, Republican angle. Among the featured speakers are U.S. Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby (Ret.); Henry Paulson, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs who served as secretary of the treasury under President George W. Bush from 2006 to 2009; and Paul Polman, the CEO of Unilever. At one point, Christine Todd Whitman, the EPA administrator under George W. Bush, addresses Republicans directly, saying, “It’s our issue.”
The global warming conference where skeptics think they’re winning the debate.
The annual International Climate Change Conference, which this year runs Thursday and Friday, just steps from Capitol Hill, is like an alternate universe…
During the event, one can hear from a handful of leading climate skeptics on how the sun is really responsible for driving climate variability, how extreme precipitation events are just an artifact of poor data measurements and how federal scientists are manipulating data to manufacture spurious warming trends.
Most importantly, one can hear from senior Republican lawmakers about how they plan to stop the Obama administration’s climate regulations and scientific research agenda.
The conference is put together by the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank based in Chicago, which in the past has received significant funding from the oil industry.
Three months ago, authoritative sources at the Vatican started saying that in June, Pope Francis would be issuing one of Catholicism’s most important statements — an Encyclical — on the climate crisis, and that in September, during his trip to the United States, he would speak to the United Nations General Assembly and to the U.S. Congress on the crucial need for action to prevent climate disaster. Seven rabbis responded to this news by deciding that Jews should address the climate crisis in the nearest way analogous to an Encyclical: with a broad-based Rabbinic Letter.
http://forward.com/opinion/national/309548/rabbis-against-climate-change/ & http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/t/-6200967183475774732
we still occasionally see rubbish published around the place that there are all these coal fired power plants about to begin operation in Germany. The Carbon Tracker report points out that since 2008 there were more than 100 new coal plants announced that have not been built. Once you take into account closures, not just openings, since 2000 there has been a new reduction of 19 gigawatts of coal capacity.
The reality that blogosphere and the conservative press don’t seem to have caught up with is that with wholesale power prices stuck at low levels, construction of a new coal fired power station is a licence to haemorrhage money.
The circumstances surrounding this European utility decline look eerily familiar to the situation here in Australia. Electricity demand has stagnated, while solar PV in particular has taken off.
Could this be AGL and EnergyAustralia’s horrible fate?, Climate Spectator TRISTAN EDIS 5 JUN, “……………….A report released by the Carbon Tracker Initiative has collated a huge array of data which provides a striking summary of how Europe’s conventional power utilities have been thrown into financial turmoil since 2008 due to being squeezed at one end by improved energy productivity and at the other end by growing use of renewable energy.
As the chart below [in original article] illustrates the stock market value of the EU’s largest 5 power generators has plunged by over 100 billion euros (or 37% of their value) between 2008 to 2013. The other big utility in the chart below that has beaten the trend has been Enel which moved into renewables….
This hasn’t been simply a function of a broader economic downturn in Europe. By contrast with the plunge in these utilities’ stock value Germany’s stock market increased 18% over the same period with a major divergence emerging in performance…..
at the same time as electricity demand was stagnating, renewable energy was being pushed into the system driven by governments’ responding to public concern about climate change and a future industrial opportunity. The chart below [in original article] illustrates that while power demand has stagnated, renewables gained 10% market share from nuclear and fossil fuel generators……… Continue reading
Anthony M Horton: Extreme heat – ‘Business as usual’ life to end in less than 30 years in the U.S.
A new study projects that the United States will have a four to six-fold increase in extreme heat exposure by 2070 — and even earlier in the South. Unfortunately, no similar study has been conducted in Australia…
As a scientist, I am concerned that research into a range of climate related issues are seemingly not on the agenda in Australia and stellar pillars such as the world renowned Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) are suffering increasingly deep staff cuts at a time when they are needed the most.
It also appears that the long held “without fear or favour” bastion of these pillars has also seemingly ended. If this is really the case, it is a truly sad day for Australia-especially given the many world leading breakthroughs achieved by the former and the proud record of the latter. …
I fear for the future of Australia if this trend becomes entrenched as, by the time the Government realises they have made a tactical error, there won’t be enough trained people left to pick up the slack, as they will have retired, retrained or will be employed elsewhere in the world. https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/business-as-usual-life-in-the-us-will-end-in-less-than-30-years,7750
Zero German coal plants as a reaction to Fukushima, Energy Transition, [excellent diagrams] 27 May 2015 by Craig Morris Reading headlines like “Germany’s nuclear cutback is darkening European skies” makes Craig Morris despair over the state of journalism……
..there has been no surge in coal power during the nuclear phase-out. In fact, total coal power production (both lignite and hard coal) fell by six percent last year alone. ……….
We are left with no coal plants in the pipeline as a reaction to Fukushima accident and Germany’s nuclear phase-out. Nor has there been a boom in new coal plants and coal electricity generation in Germany since the Fukushima accident. All of this information is publicly available,……Craig Morris (@PPchef) is the lead author of German Energy Transition. He directs Petite Planète and writes every workday for Renewables International. http://energytransition.de/2015/05/zero-german-coal-plants-reaction-to-fukushima/
Ozone treaty ‘prevented skin cancer deaths’ http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/05/27/4242804.htm Anna Salleh
The ozone hole over the Antarctic would have been 40 per cent bigger in 2013 if the Montreal Protocol hadn’t curbed the production of CFCs, according to a new study.
In this scenario, Australia and New Zealand would have experienced greater UV radiation, which in turn would have increased the rate of skin cancer, say the authors of a new paper today in Nature Communications.
The paper also shows that, by 2011, ozone depletion would have become a northern hemisphere problem too.
“There would have been an Antarctic-like ozone hole in the Arctic over populated regions,” says co-author Dr Richard McKenzie, an atmospheric physicist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand.
In the mid-1980s scientists discovered a hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica, and in 1987 the world agreed to the Montreal Protocol, which limited the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
Despite this, the concentration of CFCs continued to rise until 1993, and even today the ozone hole reappears each spring, and this contributes to an increase in cancer-causing UV radiation in Australia and New Zealand.
But without the Montreal Protocol it could have been so much worse, say the researchers.
The team, led by Professor Martyn Chipperfield of the University of Leeds, used a ‘chemical transport model’ to calculate what would have happened over the past two decades if CFCs had not been controlled.
Importantly, the model is the most accurate to date because it uses real data on winds, which blow ozone into the ultra cold parts of the South Pole, where ozone depletion occurs at the highest rate.
‘World avoided’ scenario
According to the new model, a 40 per cent increase in the size of the Antarctic ozone hole by 2013 would have contributed to an 8 to 12 per cent increase in ultraviolet levels over Australia and New Zealand.
The model is also the first to show that, without the Montreal Protocol, a very large Arctic ozone hole would have occurred in the exceptionally cold 2010/11 northern winter, and smaller Arctic ozone holes would have become a regular occurrence.
By 2013, continued decline in ozone levels over the northern hemisphere mid-latitudes would have led to a 14 per cent increase in ultraviolet levels in the United Kingdom.
Earlier research suggests that globally, these higher UV levels would have led to a 16 to 30 per cent increase in non-melanoma skin cancers, says McKenzie.
He says the change in melanoma rates are harder to estimate, but the current model supports previous estimates that by 2030, there would have been two million more skin cancer cases (14 per cent more skin-cancer cases) per year around the world, due to higher the UV.
And, by 2065 the amount of ozone would have been about a third of current levels and the peak UV index would have been about three times higher.
“It would have been drastically bad,” says McKenzie. “So instead of it being safe for fair-skinned people to go out in the sun for maybe 15 minutes, they could only go out for five minutes, which means it wouldn’t really be safe to cross the street.”
“This ‘world avoided’ scenario is really good news. It’s clear evidence that the Montreal Protocol has already worked,” says McKenzie.
“It’s done a good job. If only climate change policy could be half as successful.”
But, regardless of future changes in ozone, people in New Zealand and Australia will need to continue to protect themselves from UV radiation, says McKenzie.
UV levels in the Southern Hemisphere are naturally much higher than those in the Northern Hemisphere because of ozone circulation patterns, cleaner air and the fact that the Earth is much closer to the Sun during the southern summer.
“The heath message doesn’t change. We need to be vigilant,” warns McKenzie.
Norway fund could trigger wave of large fossil fuel divestments, say experts,Guardian, Damian Carrington, 29 May 15 Other investors are likely to follow Norwegian fund’s move out of coal-based investments, due to its size as the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund Norway’s decision to dump all coal-focused investments from its $900bnsovereign wealth fund could unleash a wave of divestment from other large funds, according to investment experts. The fund, the largest in the world, is one of the top 10 investors in the global coal industry.
The move, agreed late on Wednesday, is one of the most significant victories to date for a fast-growing and UN-backed fossil-fuel divestment campaign. It will affect $9bn-$10bn (£5.8-£6.5bn) of coal-related investments, according to the Norwegian government.
“Investments in coal companies can have both a climate risk and a future financial risk,” said Svein Flaatten of the governing Conservative party, which made a cross-party agreement to implement the selling of coal investments.
A series of analyses have shown that the world’s existing reserves of fossil fuels are several times greater than can be burned while keeping the temperature below the 2C safety limit agreed by the world’s governments. Furthermore, authorities such as the World Bank and Bank of England have warned that fossil fuel reserves will be left worthless if the action needed to cut carbon emissions kicks in…….
Organisations that have cut or curbed coal investments recently include insurance giant Axa, the Church of England and Oxford University. The Guardian, which is running a campaign asking the world’s biggest health charities to divest, is owned by the Guardian Media Group, which announced it would divest its £800m fund from all fossil fuels in April. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/28/norway-fund-could-trigger-wave-of-large-fossil-fuel-divestments-say-experts#comment-52997566
Big energy has ‘privileged access’ to top EU climate officals, claim campaigners, Guardian, Arthur Neslen 28 May 15 A row has broken out over records showing almost all top two climate and energy officials’ lobby meetings were with fossil fuel and heavy industry companies A row has broken out over claims that the vast majority of lobbyists met by the EU’s top two energy and climate officials have been from the fossil fuel sector, big energy firms and heavy industry, since they took office six months ago.
Calendar records show that 94% of the EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete’s meetings have been with business lobbyists, mostly representing the heavy industry and fossil fuels sectors. For the vice president for energy union, Maroš Šefčovič, the figure was 70%.
Sources close to Cañete say that in practice, he held five group meetings with NGOs – rather than the two listed in the calendar – and gave five group updates to civil society groups at last December’s UN climate summit in Peru, bringing the true figure closer to 83%. They say he has championed climate action in informal dialogues, and improved upon the access record of his predecessor.
But Pascoe Sabido, a campaigner for Corporate Europe Observatory, complained of undue corporate influence.
“These lists of meetings show unrivalled privileged access for the most polluting industries, while public interest groups have barely featured,” he told the Guardian. “How the EU acts over the next few years both internationally and regionally will be key in deciding whether we avoid catastrophic climate change. But on this evidence, Cañete and co are too close to the fossil fuel industry to stop us careering head-first into a climate disaster.”
Cañete has had a mountain to climb in gaining the trust of European environmental groups, after the Guardian revealed that he held hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of shares in two oil companies, shortly before his appointment………
ome environmentalists fear that lop-sided inputs may affect the commission’s output when it comes to crunch policy decisions.
“Access is currency in the lobby game and there is no denying fossil fuel companies have deeper pockets and more influence,” said Brook Riley, a spokesman for Friends of the Earth Europe. “This dangerous imbalance could prevent us from making the urgently needed transition to a safe, clean and fair energy system.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/28/big-energy-has-privileged-access-to-top-eu-climate-officals-claim-campaigners
Some Antarctic glaciers reached a tipping point in 2009 SARA PHILLIPS ABC Environmen t22 MAY 2015
Antarctic glaciers on the Bellinghausen Sea coast suddenly started melting in 2009.Credit: Alba Martin Espanol (Science)
Antarctic glaciers emptying into the Bellinghausen Sea all suddenly started melting around 2009. Scientists warn the sea level rise could be dramatic.
THE FIRST SIGNS Antarctic glaciers have reached some kind of melting ‘tipping point’ have been noticed by scientists from Europe.
The group of eight scientists, led by Dr Bert Wouters from the University of Bristol used sophisticated satellite measurements of the Antarctic glaciers that empty into the Bellinghausen Sea, on the Southern Antarctic Peninsula which reaches up almost to South America.
Glaciers are in effect, frozen rivers of snowpack, moving incrementally towards the ocean. These glaciers have existed in their current form for at least 5,000 years.
The scientists found that the height of the glaciers had dropped — some by as much as four metres. By analysing years of data, they could rule out the snow becoming more compact or a reduction in snowfall as the cause. This left only one possibility: that the glaciers were sliding faster towards the sea.
“The most likely explanation is that the glaciers have accelerated because the temperature of the ocean water has increased in the area, which we know from measurements. These warm waters will melt the floating ice shelves and the glaciers where they enter the sea from below and cause them to lose more ice,” said Dr Wouters, Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Bristol.
As the sea ice holding back the glaciers melts away, the glaciers slide faster into the sea. Last week researchers warned that elsewhere in Antarctica, the Larsen C ice shelf could collapse this century and what remains of the Larsen B ice shelf would be all gone by 2020, the majority of it having collapsed in 2002.
A tipping point
Curiously, the glaciers studied were relatively stable until 2009. After then, Dr Wouters said the glaciers appeared to have reached a “tipping point” with the glaciers studied simultaneously starting to slip into the sea…….http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2015/05/22/4239285.htm
The Millions Behind Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center US Think TankDeSmogBlog By Graham Readfearn • Tuesday, June 24, 2014 “………..The only income for the CCC in its first year in the US came in the form of a $120,000 grant from the New York-based Randolph Foundation. The foundation, seeded by money from the Richardson family’s sale of the Vick Chemical Company in 1985, gave CCCanother $50,000 in 2012.
The main trustee at Randolph is Heather Higgins, the president and CEO of Independent Women’s Voice and the chairman of its sister organisation Independent Women’s Forum. Higgins is the daughter of R. Randolph Richardson, a member of the family that sold Vick Chemical Company to Procter & Gamble for $1.2 billion.
Staff writers of both organisations regularly express scepticism about the science of human-caused climate change and cite Lomborg’s views approvingly.
A recent article from IWF senior fellow Vicki Alger claimed “a majority of scientists believe that global warming is largely nature-made” — ignoring several studies that show the vast majority of research from scientists studying climate change believe exactly the opposite.
IWF funders include the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, controlled by Charles Koch, and Donors Trust, a fund for conservative philanthropists that has pushed millions into organisations promoting climate science denial and fighting laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Higgins is also board member at the Philanthropy Roundtable, another route for conservative philanthropy which shares two members of personnel with Donors Trust or its partner organisation Donors Capital Fund. Also on the board of trustees at Randolph is Polly Freiss, the daughter-in-law of conservative Christian businessman Foster Freiss.
Foster Freiss put more than $2 million into Republican Senator Rick Santorum’s 2012 run for his party’s nomination for the presidency. Freiss also bankrolled conservative news outlet The Daily Caller, which regularly publishes articles supporting the views of climate science denialists.
On his personal web page, Freiss promotes climate science denial sources including Climate Depot and The Heartland Institute. Friess’s website has also promoted Lomborg’s views.Foster Freiss and his daughter Polly attended the Koch brother’s secretive 2010 strategy meeting in Aspen, along with Heather Higgins and a host of other conservative activists.
DeSmog’s analysis of the tax records of not-for-profit groups and foundations donating to CCC accounts for only $520,000 of the total $4.3 million income of the CCC since it was launched in the US. The center’s new website makes no mention of its funding.
When so little is known about the funding for CCC, it is hard for anyone to know if Lomborg’s hope to find “unassailable” donors has come true……http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/06/25/millions-behind-bjorn-lomborg-copenhagen-consensus-center
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