Report by the Australian Academy of Science warns extreme weather events will contribute to the spread of disease and disrupt food and water supplies.
Climate change will have significant repercussions for Australians’ health as warming temperatures fuel extreme weather events, help spread disease and disrupt food and water supplies, according to a report backed by the country’s peak scientific and medical bodies.
The Climate change challenges to health report, released by the Australian Academy of Science, warns that vulnerable people, particularly the sick, elderly and poor, will “suffer disproportionately from the worst impacts of climate change.”
The report notes that the world will have warmed by “at least 2C compared with pre-industrial times” by the end of the century, leading to heatwaves, droughts, storms and floods that will “lead directly to loss of life and will have a negative effect on the mental wellbeing of communities.”
Press link for more: Oliver Milman & Melissa Davey | theguardian.com
Last Monday Greens Leader Christine Milne delivered a landmark speech at the University of Sydney on the next steps for global warming policy around the world and Australia’s role as we approach the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris this year.
I participated in the event as one of the respondents to Senator Milne’s address and was asked to comment on ‘what role business should play in effective climate change response?’ My response is set out below, but one theme that emerged in the discussion is whether business has an ethical responsibility in its response to climate change? I argue that it does, and this excellent article by David Roberts today highlights the broader way in which climate change is being viewed as a moral imperative and why this frightens those opposed to action on climate change. This an issue business seems unprepared to deal with, but as the climate crisis worsens and its moral implications become more apparent, it is one businesses need to increasingly engage with.
What role should business play in effective climate change response?
Now if you’d asked me this question 8 years ago you probably would have got a very different answer. Back in 2007, like a lot of people I’d become increasingly aware of climate change. I’d watched Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, I’d read Nicholas Stern’s report, and in the middle of the Millennial Drought – it seemed quite evident that the ground under our feet was shifting fundamentally.
Against this background, I began a research project exploring Australian business responses to climate change. We studied a range of major corporations focused on this issue:
- an energy company anticipating the pricing of carbon emissions as an inevitability;
- a manufacturer exploring ways to reduce its waste and energy consumption; and
- banks and insurers focusing on the financial risks of increasingly extreme weather events.
Following the Stern Report it seemed even conventional economics had grasped the logic of climate science and how our reliance on fossil fuels was unsustainable. Major change in the very nature of business seemed not only likely, but inevitable.
And yet how wrong I was. Here we are in 2015, with our Prime Minister proclaiming ‘coal is good for humanity’, with amongst the highest per capita carbon emissions in the world, and the dubious distinction of being the first nation to have repealed a carbon pricing mechanism.
Press link for more: Christopher Wright | climatepeople.wordpress.com
“How sad to think that nature speaks and mankind doesn’t listen” – Victor Hugo
History is littered with civilizations that refused to adapt to a changing climate, and collapsed because of it. We’re no different. The climate is destabilizing. We’re aware of environmental degradation. We know the causes. We know the risks. And yet we continue to dither.
Years from now, when the costs are clear, we’ll regret our inaction. Droughts, superstorms, resource competition, refugee crises, border disputes, failed states – these problems will define our political future. Soon, they’ll be impossible to ignore. It’s a terrible thing that our leaders won’t tell us these truths. What are they waiting for? What’s the plan? The proverbial clock is ticking.
Our dilemma invites cynicism. It’s true: humans have a way of self-correcting, of modifying priorities in the face of chaos. But that doesn’t inspire much confidence now, because our heads are buried in the sand. In 2008, when the economy was teetering, our government acted out of necessity. The consequences of collapse were too catastrophic. Maybe Wall Street was, in fact, too big to fail. Maybe an injustice had to be done in defense of the common good. I wasn’t convinced by this argument, but I understood the logic of interventionism. I wonder, though, why this same logic doesn’t apply to the planet. Is the earth not too big to fail?
Climate scientists agree: a disaster is looming. The planet is warming. Storms are becoming larger and more extreme. Water is rising. Food security is increasingly elusive. Our policy responses have been trivial. How is that possible? Are we so wedded to a worldview and a way of life that we’d rather perish than admit error? What could be more valuable than the physical system on which life, as we know it, depends?
Climate denialism is maddening for many reasons. The evidence is overwhelming, but the will to disbelief persists. There’s something all-too-human about this sort of obstinacy. People have fixed ideas about the world, and most are unwilling to revise those ideas. But this need for clarity is dangerous, especially when supported by a rigid ideology. Ideologies are useful because they provide a framework for interpreting the world, for making sense of things. But they also constrain our thinking by tempting us to see only what confirms our worldview.
Press link for more: Sean D. Illing | huffingtonpost.com
The editorial excerpted below from the Louisville Courier Journal ia a perfect illustration of why climate deniers are freaking out about the Pope’s imminent Encyclical on Climate Change.
Some of the greatest barriers to climate awareness are not the scientific ones, but emotional and visceral among a large number of otherwise good people. Leadership from the Pope, and representatives of other traditions, is a growing force for affirmative action on climate change.
The Church got it catastrophically wrong that time with Galileo 500 year ago, and they are still trying to live it down. Today, with a world class Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope is receiving the right kind of advice.
The Flat Earthers won’t win this time around.
The Roman Catholic Church hasn’t always been on the right side of science.
It’s yet to live down the 1633 condemnation of the Italian astronomer Galileo for…
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For virtually all of the last 10,000 years, our ancestors lived in in a geological age called the Holocene in which climatic conditions were remarkably stable and natural resources were plentiful, renewable and seemingly inexhaustible. But during the last few hundred years, exponential increases in human population growth and in the scope and scale of what eventually became a fossil fuel based global market system resulted in a new geological age known as the age of the Anthropocene. In this geological age, global human activities are in the process of undermining the capacity of the biosphere to sustain our growing numbers and our species has become a geological force that will determine the future of life on Earth.
At the dawn of the new millennium, we face multiple interconnected crises: the deterioration of Earth’s life support systems, chronic unemployment even in the developed economies, persistent and crushing poverty, an unstable and overreaching financial system, government institutions ill- equipped to deal with the scope and scale of these challenges, and ongoing rapid population growth in many parts of the world. Yet we lack an accurate intellectual map of where we are and where we should be going. The thought systems that serve as the intellectual foundation for many of the most influential institutions that manage society are in critical need of an update in order for us to effectively respond to these interconnected crises.
Press link for more: capitalinstitute.org
More than 10,000 people from 150 countries have signed up for a free online university course that aims to explain the science of climate science denial and give the public the best tools to fight misinformation.
The course, from the University of Queensland in Australia, has recruited some of the world’s leading climate scientists, along with psychologists, science historians and even world famous natural history presenter Sir David Attenborough, who all gave interviews for Denial101x. Course instructors include scientists and contributors to the Skeptical Science website.
John Cook, course developer, instructor and Climate Communication Fellow at the university’s Global Change Institute, told DeSmogBlog the seven-week course would explain everything from the fundamentals of climate change science, to the techniques used by climate science deniers and the psychologies of denial.
He hopes the course will help to “close the consensus gap” – the chasm between the 97 per cent of expert scientists who accept that humans are causing climate change and members of the public, politicians and media commentators who still reject the science.
press link for more: Graham Readfern | desmogblog.com
About 1% of all the tree species in the Amazon account for half of the carbon locked in the vast South American rainforest, a study has estimated.