Month: January 2015

Shell urges shareholders to accept climate resolution.

Shell is set to confront the risk that climate change may pose to its future, after backing a resolution from activist shareholders. The move came on the same day it announced $15bn (£10bn) in cost cutting due to plummeting oil prices and said it wanted to resume drilling for oil in the Arctic.

The resolution, filed by 150 investors who control hundreds of billions of pounds, requires the oil major to test whether its business model is compatible with the pledge by the world’s nations to limit global warming to 2C.

The 2C target means only a quarter of existing, exploitable fossil fuel reserves are burnable, according to a series of recent analyses. That implies trillions of dollars of oil, gas and coal held by investors could become worthless and that continuing exploration for fossil fuels may be pointless.

The resolution, also filed with BP, includes a ban on corporate bonuses for climate-harming activities and a commitment to invest in renewable energy.

“This is a turning point and demonstrates the power of activist strategies to deal with climate change,” said Catherine Howarth, chief executive of ShareAction, which helped coordinate the resolutions.
Damian Carrington | theguardian.com

Howard Zinn on The Problem of Obedience and the Folly of American Exceptionalism

“Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience…” – Howard Zinn

We live in a uniquely troubled time, particularly due to our access to information. We can see the problems unfolding if we look closely, but, many choose to look the other way.

Our high-ranking political officials are more influenced by incessant corporate lobbying than by public opinion, and this is not hard to see when it comes time to make policy changes.

We are always at war (often with questionable motives, at best), and those responsible for waging these wars are rarely held accountable for their words and actions, or for the death toll that results.

The government is steadily working to erode the civil liberties of the people in the name of national security. And, speaking of national security, the threat of nuclear warfare is becoming evermore terrifying across the globe.

Oh, and we have done irreversible damage to the environment.
Howard Zinn | becomingrational.com

Most Republicans Say They Back Climate Action, Poll Finds

WASHINGTON — An overwhelming majority of the American public, including half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future.

In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans said they were more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They were less likely to vote for candidates who questioned or denied the science that determined that humans caused global warming.

nytimes.com

Noam Chomsky on Why We Must Pay Attention to the Environment.

“…the interest of the general population is to preserve human life; the interest of corporations is to make profits – those are fundamentally different interests.”

In a series of discussions that took place in Rowe, Massachusetts in early 1989, Noam Chomsky, the great linguist and political dissident, was asked whether he thinks there are “any developments over the past few decades that are new on the international scene, which people should be aware of as we analyze things that are taking place in the world.”

becomingrational.com

CLIMATE CHANGE: WITH HEAD AND HEART

Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, gave UCAR’s Walter Orr Roberts Distinguished Lecture on Friday, September 5 in Chautauqua Auditorium on the Chautauqua campus. Recently named to TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list for 2014, Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist who studies climate change and what it means for people and the natural environment. But Hayhoe may be best-known to the general public because of how she’s bridging the broad, deep gap between scientists and conservative Christians — work she does in part because she’s a conservative Christian herself.

Together with her husband Andrew Farley, a professor of applied linguistics and best-selling author of “The Naked Gospel,” Hayhoe wrote “A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions,” a book that untangles the complex science and tackles many long-held misconceptions about global warming.

Hayhoe’s work as a climate change evangelist is featured on the documentary series “Years of Living Dangerously” and “The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers,” and in articles appearing in On Earth, Grist, the LA Times, Climate Progress, and others. In 2012 she was honored to be named one of Christianity Today’s 50 Women to Watch.

Press to watch her video.

ECOCIDE IS THE MISSING 5TH CRIME AGAINST PEACE.

WHY A LAW OF ECOCIDE IS REQUIRED
This we know because it no longer works to destroy our habitat. A law of Ecocide can be put in place at the very top, as an international crime, over and above all other laws – to prevent mass damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems. To do this means amending the Rome Statute. This requires a Member State to table it at the next Review Conference (due next year). All nations have been sent a Concept Paper and this website sets out in the public domain the proposal that will change the course of history – should we choose.
WE CAN END THE ERA OF ECOCIDE BY 2020

Polly Higgins | eradicatingecocide.com

Wave energy has potential to be cheaper than wind.

Wave energy could be cheaper and easier to integrate into current energy systems than other forms of renewables because of its relative consistency, according to new analysis.
The study, a collaboration between researchers at Oregon State University, the University of Victoria, and private industry, estimates that the cost of integrating wave energy into the system would be 10% or less than the costs of integrating wind energy. However, the researchers noted that integration is just one component.
The findings, published in journal Renewable Energy, are based on a lower variability with wave energy. The researchers explain that the variability of alternative energy sources is one of the factors that holds back their wider use because if wind or solar energy decreases and varies widely, then other energy production has to back it up, adding to the overall cost of energy supply.
In comparison to other renewables, wave energy has a lower variability and by balancing wave energy production over a larger geographic area this can be reduced further. As a result, wave energy has the potential to provide cheaper and more consistent energy than both wind and solar.
Charlotte Malone | bluegreentomorrow.com

US starts playing catch-up on offshore wind.

The Atlantic’s powerful bluster twirls thousands of wind turbines off the coast of Europe, sending gigawatts of renewable energy coursing into the power grid there.

Currently, there is not a single wind turbine generating even a watt of electricity in American waters as oil platforms represent the only offshore energy development in the US. But the race is on to change that, beginning with a landmark wind rights auction on Thursday, which aims to open a vast swath in the Atlantic off the Massachusetts coast for what could be the the first and largest offshore wind power project in the US.

Twelve wind energy companies will be vying Thursday to bid on the right to develop dense wind farms within 742,000 acres (300,277ha) of federally controlled open ocean beginning about 12 nautical miles (22km) off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard – the largest area off the Atlantic coast open to wind development. The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which also administers oil and gas leasing off the nation’s coastlines, expects that if those waters are fully developed with wind turbines, they could produce up to 5 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 1.4 million homes.

The auction is a part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for 20GW of renewable energy to be produced on public lands and federal waters by 2020 as the country tries to reduce its carbon footprint to combat climate change.

The US is far behind other parts of the world in developing offshore wind power. In Europe, for example, there are more than 2300 wind turbines spread across 73 wind farms operating in the waters off of 11 European countries, according to the European Wind Energy Association.
Bobby Magill | businessspectator.com.au

How Climate Change Leads to Volcanoes (Really)

Give climate change credit for one thing: it’s endlessly versatile. There was a time we called it global warming, which meant what it said: the globe would get warmer. It was only later that we appreciated that a planet running a fever is just like a person running a fever, which is to say it has a whole lot of other symptoms: in this case, droughts, floods, wildfires, habitat disruption, sea level rise, species loss, crop death and more.

Now, you can add yet another problem to the climate change hit list: volcanoes. That’s the word from a new study conducted in Iceland and accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. The finding is bad news not just for one comparatively remote part of the world, but for everywhere.

Jeffery Kluger | time.com

Should we try to halt extinction?

In an age when mankind can send robots to look for life on Mars, why can’t science stop so many forms of life from being wiped out here on Earth?

The question comes amid the loss of species on such a relentless scale that conservationists call it the Sixth Mass Extinction – the fifth being the asteroid that killed the large dinosaurs. This one is driven by human activity.

One immediate focus is on the pitiful story of one of Africa’s greatest animals – in fact, its second largest mammal – the northern white rhino.

Decades of poaching have whittled down the numbers of this massive and fearsome-looking creature to a paltry band of survivors – and, because none of the usual conservation techniques have worked, the animals now total just five.

David Shukman | bbc.com