World scientists’ warning to humanity #auspol #sapol #StopAdani

World scientists’ warning to humanity

By Rex Weyler

Rex Weyler was a director of the original Greenpeace Foundation, the editor of the organisation’s first newsletter, and a co-founder of Greenpeace International in 1979.

Environmental activists and organisations typically try and stay positive, to give people hope that we can change.

Positive signs exist, going back to the historic whaling and toxic dumping bans of the 1980s.

The 1987 Montreal Protocol, reducing CFC gas emissions, led to a partial recovery of the ozone hole.

Birth rates have declined in some regions, and forests and freshwater have been restored in some regions.

The world’s nations have, at least, made promises to reduce carbon emissions, even if action has been slow.

A challenge we face as ecologists and environmentalists, however, is that when we step back from our victories and assess the big picture – the global pace of climate change, forest loss, biodiversity decline – we must admit: our achievements have not been enough.

Children playing near a coal plant in Central Java

25 years ago, in 1992, the Union of Concerned Scientists issued the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” signed by 1,700 scientists, including most living Nobel laureates.

They presented disturbing data regarding freshwater, marine fisheries, climate, population, forests, soil, and biodiversity.

They warned that “a great change” was necessary to avoid “vast human misery.”

This year, on the 25th anniversary of that warning, the Alliance of World Scientists published a second warning – an evaluation of our collective progress.

With the exception of stabilising ozone depletion, they report that “humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.”

A short history of warnings

Environmental awareness is not new.

Over 2,500 years ago, Chinese Taoists articulated the disconnect between human civilisation and ecological values.

Later Taoist Bao Jingyan warned that “fashionable society goes against the true nature of things… harming creatures to supply frivolous adornments.”

Modern warnings began in the 18th century, at the dawn of the industrial age, particularly from Thomas Malthus, who warned that an exponentially growing population on a finite planet would reach ecological limits.

Modern growth advocates have ridiculed Malthus for being wrong, but his logic and maths are impeccable.

He did not foresee the discovery of petroleum, which allowed economists to ignore Malthus for two centuries, aggravating the crisis that Malthus correctly identified.

Rachel Carson ignited the modern environmental movement in 1962 with Silent Spring, warning of eminent biodiversity collapse.

A decade later, in the early days of Greenpeace, the Club of Rome published The Limits To Growth, using data to describe what we could see with our eyes: declining forests and biodiversity, and resources, clashing head-on with growing human population and consumption demands.

Conventional economists mocked the idea of limits, but The Limits to Growth projections have proven accurate.

In 2009, in Nature journal, a group of scientists lead by Johan Rockström published Planetary Boundaries, warning humanity that essential ecological systems – biodiversity, climate, nutrient cycles, and others – had moved beyond ecological limits to critical tipping points.

Melting iceberg in the Southern Ocean

Three years later, 22 international scientists published a paper called ‘Approaching a State Shift in Earth’s Biosphere’ which warned that human growth had “the potential to transform Earth…  into a state unknown in human experience.” Canadian co-author, biologist Arne Mooers lamented, “humans have not done anything really important to stave off the worst. My colleagues… are terrified.”

In 2014 Michael Gerst, Paul Raskin, and Johan Rockström published ‘Contours of a Resilient Global Future’ in Sustainability 6, searching for viable future scenarios that considered both the natural limits to growth and realistic targets for human development. They warned that the challenge is “daunting” and that “marginal changes” are insufficient.

Last year, the UN International Resource Panel (IRP), published ‘Global Material Flows and Resource Productivity’ warning nations that global resources are limited, human consumption trends are unsustainable, and that resource depletion will have unpleasant impacts on human health, quality of life, and future development.

This year, the second “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity,” alerted us again that marginal changes appear insignificant and that we are surpassing “the limits of what the biosphere can tolerate without substantial and irreversible harm.”

The data speaks

The Alliance of World Scientists researchers tracked data over the last 25 years, since the 1992 warning. They cite some hopeful signs, such as the decline in ozone-depleting CFC gases, but report that, from a global perspective, our “changes in environmental policy, human behavior, and global inequities… are far from sufficient.”

Here’s what the data shows:

Ozone: CFC (chlorofluorocarbons) emissions are down by 68% since 1992, due to the 1987 UN Montreal Protocol. The ozone layer is expected to reach 1980 levels by mid-century. This is the good news.

Freshwater: Water resources per capita have declined by 26% since 1992. Today, about one billion people suffer from a lack of fresh, clean water, “nearly all due to the accelerated pace of human population growth” exacerbated by rising temperatures.

Fisheries: The global marine catch is down by 6.4% since 1992, despite advances in industrial fishing technology. Larger ships with bigger nets and better sonar cannot catch fish that are not there.

Ocean dead zones: Oxygen-depleted zones have increased by 75 %, caused by fertilizer runoff and fossil-fuel use. Acidification due to carbon emissions kills coral reefs that act as marine breeding grounds.

Forests: By area, forests have declined by 2.8% since 1992, but with a simultaneous decline in forest health, timber volume, and quality. Forest loss has been greatest where forests are converted to agricultural land. Forest decline feeds back through the ecosystem as reduced carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and freshwater.

Biodiversity: Vertebrate abundance has declined 28.9 %. Collectively, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals have declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012. This is harrowing.

CO2 emissions: Regardless of international promises, CO2 emissions have increased by 62% since 1960.

Temperature change: The global average surface temperature is increasing in parallel to CO2 emissions. The 10 warmest years in the 136-year record have occurred since 1998. Scientists warn that heating will likely cause a decline in the world’s major food crops, an increase in storm intensity, and a substantial sea level rise, inundating coastal cities.

Population: We’ve put 2 billion more humans on this planet since 1992 – that’s a 35 % increase. To feed ourselves, we’ve increased livestock by 20.5 %. Humans and livestock now comprise 98.5% of mammal biomass on Earth. The scientists stress that we need to find ways to stabilise or reverse human population growth. “Our large numbers,” they warn, “exert stresses on Earth that can overwhelm other efforts to realise a sustainable future”

Soil: The scientists report a lack of global data, but from national data we can see that soil productivity has declined around the world (by up to 50% in some regions), due to nutrient depletion, erosion, and desertification. The EU reports losing 970 million tonnes of topsoil annually to erosion. The US Department of Agriculture estimates 75 billion tons of soil lost annually worldwide, costing nations $400 billion (€340 billion) in lost crop yields.

The pending question

“We are jeopardising our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption,” the scientists warn, “and by not perceiving … population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and societal threats.”

The Alliance of World Scientists report offers some hope, in the form of steps that we can take to begin a more serious transition to sustainability:

• Expand well-managed reserves – terrestrial, marine, freshwater, and aerial – to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem services.

• Restore native plant communities, particularly forests, and native fauna species, especially apex predators, to restore ecosystem integrity.

• End poaching, exploitation, and trade of threatened species.

• Reduce food waste and promote dietary shifts towards plant-based foods.

•  Increase outdoor nature education and appreciation for children and adults.

• Divest from destructive industries and invest in genuine sustainability. That means phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels, and adopting renewable energy sources on a large scale.

• Revise economic systems to reduce wealth inequality and account for the real costs that consumption patterns impose on our environment.

• Reduce the human birth-rate with gender-equal access to education and family-planning.

These proposed solutions are not new, but the emphasis on population is important, and often overlooked. Some environmentalists avoid discussing human population, since it raises concerns about human rights. We know that massive consumption by the wealthiest 15% of us is a fundamental cause of the ecological crisis. Meanwhile, the poorest individuals consume far less than their fair share of available resources.

Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

As an ecologist, I feel compelled to ask myself: if the last 50 years of environmental action, research, warnings, meetings, legislation, regulation, and public awareness has proven insufficient, despite our victories, then what else do we need to do?

That question, and an integrated, rigorous, serious answer, needs to be a central theme of the next decade of environmentalism.

Rex Weyler is an author, journalist and co-founder of Greenpeace International.

Resources and Links:

World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice; eight authors and 15,364 scientist signatories from 184 countries; BioScience, W.J. Ripple, et. al., 13 November 2017

List of 15,364 signatories from 184 Countries: Oregon State University

Alliance of World Scientists:  Oregon State University

Recovery of Ozone depletion after Montreal Protocol: B. Ewenfeldt, “Ozonlagret mår bättre”, Arbetarbladet 12 September, 2014.

Fertility rate reduction in some regions: UN

Accuracy of Limits to Growth Study: “Is Global Collapse Imminent? An Update to Limits to Growth with Historical Data,” Graham Turner, 2014): Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute

“Contours of a Resilient Global Future,” Michael Gerst, Paul Raskin, and Johan Rockström,  Sustainability 6, 2014.

Arithmetic, Population, and Energy: Albert Bartlett video lecture on exponential growth

William Rees, The Way Forward: Survival 2100, Solutions Journal, human overshoot and genuine solutions.

Johan Rockström, et. al., “Planetary Boundaries,” Nature, September 23, 2009.

Anthony D. Barnosky, et. al., “Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere,” Nature, June 7, 2012.

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Game changer’: New vulnerability to climate change in ocean food chain. #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

Game changer’: New vulnerability to climate change in ocean food chain

By Peter Hannam

15 March 2018 — 5:00am

Excessive rates of carbon dioxide undermines the health of key micro-organisms in the oceans, potentially undermining the base of critical marine food chains, according to new research by US scientists.

A team of researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) applied techniques from the emerging field of synthetic biology to understand how ocean acidification from the absorption of CO2 is affecting tiny plants known as phytoplankton.

Phytoplankton like these diatoms turn out to be sensitive to ocean acidification, according to new research.

Photo: Scripps Institution/Nature

Phytoplankton are not only a key food source for global fisheries, they are also important to the removal of CO2, much like how trees absorb the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.

In a paper published on Thursday in Nature, the team demonstrated how the microscopic plants require carbonate ions to acquire iron from the water to grow.

As CO2 levels rise, the oceans have less carbonate, affecting phytoplankton’s ability to secure sufficient nutrient iron for growth. In fact, the concentration of sea surface carbonate ions are on course to drop by half by the end of this century.

“Ultimately our study reveals the possibility of a ‘feedback mechanism’ operating in parts of the ocean where iron already constrains the growth of phytoplankton,”said Jeff McQuaid, lead author of the study who made the discoveries as a PhD student at Scripps Oceanography.

“In these regions, high concentrations of atmospheric CO2 could decrease phytoplankton growth, restricting the ability of the ocean to absorb CO2 and thus leading to ever higher concentrations of CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere.”

Phytoplankton off New York. The micro-organisms help remove carbon dioxide from the ocean.

Photo: NASA

Andrew E. Allen, a biologist at Scripps and JCVI and the paper’s senior author, said that while the genetics of common animals such as rats or rabbits was well known, the same was not true of marine microbes that play important roles in the global food chain.

The researchers inserted a mutated copy of a gene into phytoplankton cells and tested how it responded to changing ocean chemistry.

“It was a complete game changer,” Professor Allen told Fairfax Media, noting interest in who acidification impacts on phytoplankton had been “a pretty intensive topic of research for the past 10-20 years” given the implication for the food web. Progress, though, had been limited until the new techniques emerged.

“With [synthetic biological] tools like this we can really study the function of a protein in detail to really enable some breakthroughs.”

Professor Allen discovered several iron-responsive genes in diatoms – a type of phytoplankton – in 2008 that had no known function.

DNA analysis of samples that were collected by Mr McQuaid during a trip in the same year to Antarctica revealed one of Professor Allen’s iron genes was not only present in every sample of seawater, but that every major phytoplankton group in the Southern Ocean seemed to have a copy.

The subsequent research centred on the more common of two methods of iron take-up by diatoms.

“In the Southern Ocean, where the temperature decreases the solubility of carbonate, we should already be in the zone where the models project which start to limit iron uptake,” Professor Allen said. “Certainly by 2100…the uptake of iron by this [primary] mechanism could be reduced by 45 per cent.”

While the micro organisms had a secondary way to extract the iron they needed to grow, that method was “a lot more energetically expensive and less efficient”, Professor Allen said.

“If you take away one kind of iron substrate, there could be ripples through the microbial food web.”

Professor Allen credited the now-Dr McQuaid for pulling together a wide-range of scientific fields – tapping experts in molecular evolution, iron and carbonate chemistry, synthetic biology and diatom biology – to “weave a coherent, integrated story”.

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China’s War on Pollution #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

China’s War on Pollution Will Change the World

March 9, 2018

China is cracking down on pollution like never before, with new green policies so hard-hitting and extensive they can be felt across the world, transforming everything from electric vehicle demand to commodities markets.

Four decades of breakneck economic growth turned China into the world’s biggest carbon emitter. But now the government is trying to change that without damaging the economy—and perhaps even use its green policies to become a leader in technological innovation.

So, as lawmakers attend the annual National People’s Congress, here’s a look at the impact of the environmental focus, at home and abroad.

PM 2.5 Concentration Estimate (µg/m3) as of January 31, 2018

Source: Berkeley Earth (see footnote for methodology)

China’s air pollution is so extreme that in 2015, independent research group Berkeley Earth estimated it contributed to 1.6 million deaths per year in the country.

The smog is heaviest in northern industrial provinces such as Shanxi, the dominant coal mining region, and steel-producing Hebei. Emissions there contribute to the planet’s largest mass of PM 2.5 air pollution—the particles which pose the greatest health risks because they can become lodged in the lungs. It can stretch from Mongolia to the Yellow Sea and often as far as South Korea.

Leaders at the congress said they will raise spending to curb pollution by 19 percent over the previous year to 40.5 billion yuan ($6.4 billion) and aim to cut sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by 3 percent. They said heavy air pollution days in key cities are down 50 percent in five years.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Tons of Carbon Dioxide

December 2001:

China joins WTO

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy

The country had become the world’s No.1 carbon dioxide emitter as it rose to dominate global exports, a process which began several decades ago but got its biggest lift with World Trade Organization entry in 2001. Emissions have started to fall again.

Bigger Than Tesla

The government’s war on air pollution fits neatly with another goal: domination of the global electric-vehicle industry.

Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. might be the best-known name, but China has been the global leader in EV sales since 2015, and is aiming for 7 million annual sales by 2025.

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

To get there, it’s subsidizing manufacturers and tightening regulation around traditional fossil-fuel powered cars. Beneficiaries include BYD Co., a Warren Buffett-backed carmaker that soared 67 percent last year and sold more cars than Tesla. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has a buy rating on shares of Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.

Clean Energy Frontiers

Worldwide, solar panel prices are plunging—allowing a faster shift away from carbon—thanks to the sheer scale of China’s clean-energy investment. It’s spending more than twice as much as the U.S. Two-thirds of solar panels are produced in China, BNEF estimates, and it’s home to global leaders, including JinkoSolar Holding Co. and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co.

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

But China isn’t stopping there. As well as wind and solar, it’s exploring frontier clean energy technologies like hydrogen as an alternative to coal.

Follow the Money

The trend towards clean energy is poised to keep gathering steam worldwide. BNEF projects global investment in new power generation capacity will exceed $10 trillion between 2017 and 2040. Of this, about 72 percent is projected to go toward renewable energy, roughly evenly split between wind and solar.

The Third Industrial Revolution

China’s efforts to cut excess industrial capacity overlap with the imperative to clean up the environment. Combined, those forces have had a hefty impact on commodity prices. Coal, steel, and aluminum prices soared last year as factories shut and mines closed. Under the weight of new rules on pollutant discharge, paper prices did the same. Some markets have recovered somewhat since then, some haven’t.

Thermal coal

(Per metric ton)

Steel rebar

(Per metric ton)


(Per metric ton)

Paper products

(Producer Price index)

Source: Data compiled by Bloomberg, China Coal Resource, National Bureau of Statistics

Clearer Skies

Five years ago, Beijing’s “airpocalypse” unleashed criticism of the government so searing that even Chinese state media joined in. Last year, the capital’s average daily concentration of PM2.5 particles was almost a third lower than in 2015, compared with declines of about a tenth for some other major cities.

The turnaround isn’t just limited to improving air quality. China has stopped accepting shiploads of other countries’ plastic and paper trash, a response to public concern over pollution and a decreased need for scrap materials.

As Xi pushes a greener approach, officials at every level of government are working to put his words into action. The government has set up a special police force, and polluting factories have been closed. Officials obediently banned coal, sending natural gas sales surging, before backtracking after supply shortfalls left many areas in the cold.

Beijing’s 30-Day Average Air Pollution Levels

PM 2.5 pollutant concentration µg/m3

China’s LNG Imports

Source: U.S. Department of State Air Quality Monitoring Program, China Customs

While smog was long excused as the inevitable byproduct of rising wealth, there’s no sign so far that the cleanup is derailing the country’s economy. Growth last year accelerated to 6.9 percent—the first uptick in seven years—and remains a crucial prop for global expansion.

What’s more, China sees high-tech industries like electric cars and solar panels as its chance to lead the world, setting standards and cornering markets as they begin to build momentum. But turning around carbon emissions at home is one thing. Winning over the world’s consumers to become a tech superpower is a different goal entirely.

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Australian Academy of Science on #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Earth’s climate has changed over the past century.

The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, sea levels have risen, and glaciers and ice sheets have decreased in size.

The best available evidence indicates that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the main cause.

Continuing increases in greenhouse gases will produce further warming and other changes in Earth’s physical environment and ecosystems.

The science behind these statements is supported by extensive studies based on four main lines of evidence:

• Physical principles established more than a century ago tell us that certain trace gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour, restrict the radiant flow of heat from Earth to space. This mechanism, known as the ‘greenhouse effect’, keeps Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere considerably warmer than they would otherwise be. The gases involved are called ‘greenhouse gases’. An increase in greenhouse gas concentrations raises the temperature of the surface.

• The record of the distant past(millions of years) tells us that climate has varied greatly through Earth’s history. It has, for example, gone through ten major ice age cycles over approximately the past million years. Over the last few thousand years of this period, during which civilisations developed, climate was unusually stable. Evidence from the past confirms that climate can be sensitive to small persistent changes, such as variations in Earth’s orbit.

• Measurements from the recent past (the last 150 years) tell us that Earth’s surface has warmed as atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases increased through human activities, and that this warming has led to other environmental changes. Although climate varies from decade to decade, the overall upward trend of average global surface temperature over the last century is clear.

• Climate models allow us to understand the causes of past climate changes, and to project climate change into the future. Together with physical principles and knowledge of past variations, models provide compelling evidence that recent changes are due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. They tell us that, unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced greatly and greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilised, greenhouse warming will continue to increase.

This document aims to summarise and clarify the current scientific understanding of climate change by answering nine key questions.

1 What is climate change?

The term ‘climate’, in its broadest sense, refers to a statistical description of weather and of the related conditions of oceans, land surfaces and ice sheets. This includes consideration of averages, variability and extremes. Climate change is an alteration in the pattern of climate over a long period of time, and may be due to a combination of natural and humaninduced causes.

2 How has climate changed?

Global climate has varied greatly throughout Earth’s history. In the final decades of the 20th century, the world experienced a rate of warming that is unprecedented for thousands of years, as far as we can tell from the available evidence. Global average temperature rise has been accompanied by ongoing rises in ocean temperatures, ocean heat storage, sea levels and atmospheric water vapour. There has also been shrinkage in the size of ice sheets and most glaciers. The recent slowdown in the rate of surface warming is mainly due to climate variability that has redistributed heat in the ocean, causing warming at depth and cooling of surface waters. Australia’s climate has warmed along with the global average warming.

3 Are human activities causing climate change?

Human activities are increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This increase is extremely likely to have caused most of the recent observed global warming, with CO2 being the largest contributor. Some observed changes in Australia’s climate, including warming throughout the continent and drying trends in the southwest, have been linked to rising greenhouse gas concentrations.

4 How do we expect climate to evolve in the future?

If greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow rapidly, it is expected that, by 2100, the global average air temperature over the Earth’s surface will warm by around 4°C above mid-19th century temperatures. There are many likely ramifications of this warming. However, if emissions are reduced sufficiently rapidly, there is a chance that global average warming will not exceed 2°C and other impacts will be limited.

5 How are extreme events changing?

Since the mid-20th century, climate change has resulted in increases in the frequency and intensity of very hot days and decreases in very cold days. These trends will continue with further global warming. Heavy rainfall events have intensified over most land areas and will likely continue to do so, but changes are expected to vary by region.

6 How are sea levels changing?

Sea levels have risen during the 20th century. The two major contributing factors are the expansion of sea water as it warms, and the loss of ice from glaciers. Sea levels are very likely to rise more quickly during the 21st century than the 20th century, and will continue to rise for many centuries.

7 What are the impacts of climate change?

Climate change has impacts on ecosystems, coastal systems, fire regimes, food and water security, health, infrastructure and human security. Impacts on ecosystems and societies are already occurring around the world, including in Australia. The impacts will vary from one region to another and, in the short term, can be both positive and negative. In the future, the impacts of climate change will intensify and interact with other stresses. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to be high, it is likely that the human-induced component of climate change will exceed the capacity of some countries to adapt.

8 What are the uncertainties and their implications?

There is near-unanimous agreement among climate scientists that human-caused global warming is real. However, future climate change and its effects are hard to predict accurately or in detail, especially at regional and local levels. Many factors prevent more accurate predictions, and some uncertainty is likely to remain for considerable time. Uncertainty in climate science is no greater than in other areas where policy decisions are routinely taken to minimise risk. Also, the uncertainty means that the magnitude of future climate change could be either greater or less than present-day best estimates.

9 What does science say about options to address climate change?

Societies, including Australia, face choices about how to respond to the consequences of future climate change. Available strategies include reducing emissions, capturing CO2, adaptation and ‘geoengineering’. These strategies, which can be combined to some extent, carry different levels of environmental risk and different societal consequences. The role of climate science is to inform decisions by providing the best possible knowledge of climate outcomes and the consequences of alternative courses of action.

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Philippines holds world’s biggest corporations to account on climate change #StopAdani #auspol

The Philippines holds world’s biggest corporations to account on climate change.

Corporations and governments around the world increasingly stand accused of causing or failing to prevent the damaging effects of climate change.

Test cases are being filed in many countries to establish who is responsible and what action should be taken.

In 2016, after a series of particularly violent typhoons hit the Philippines, a group of Filipino citizens and civil organisations, including Greenpeace, accused 47 corporations of having significantly contributed to climate change, and called for them to be held accountable. Dubbed the “Carbon Majors”, these included the likes of Shell, BP and Chevron.

The group asked the Philippines Human Rights Commission to investigate the Carbon Majors’ responsibility for alleged breaches of Filipinos’ human rights to “life, health, food, water, sanitation, adequate housing and self determination” that are associated with climate change.

The lion’s share of emissions have been attributed to the largest oil, gas, coal and cement producers (Shutterstock)

The Carbon Majors petition bases its claims on a study by climate expert Richard Heede, which attributes “the lion’s share of cumulative global CO2 and methane emissions since the industrial revolution” to the world’s largest producers of crude oil, natural gas, coal and cement.

Taking on the big guns

In an unprecedented move, in December 2017, the commission agreed to investigate the Carbon Majors petition. Its powers are relatively modest: the commission can only make recommendations to the Filipino authorities and those found to have breached human rights, but it cannot award damages and it has no enforcement powers. Still, its decision could be a game changer for climate change litigation.

In 2005, a group of Inuit petitioned the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to assert the United States’ responsibility for human rights violations associated with climate change in the Arctic. But the petition was dismissed on procedural grounds. So what has changed since then?

In recent years, a long string of United Nations Human Rights Council resolutions has emphasised the role of human rights in tackling climate change. The most recent international climate change treaty – the 2015 Paris agreement – explicitly links human rights and the obligations of climate change law. These developments seem to have emboldened efforts to use human rights law as a means to tackle climate change.

Far from being an isolated complaint, the Carbon Majors petition is part of a global upsurge in climate change litigation. Yet, there are complex legal obstacles to attributing responsibility for breaches of human rights caused by climate change.

First, applicants have to demonstrate that the obligations of corporations encompass human rights violations associated with the adverse effects of climate change. Second, they have to prove that a specific corporation has contributed to climate change, in such a way that amounts to a breach of human rights.

But a balance has to be struck between environmental protection and other legitimate interests, such as providing energy for consumers. However, John Knox, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, has pointed out that this cannot result in unjustified, foreseeable breaches of human rights. He has also suggested that improved scientific knowledge, such as that used to identify the Carbon Majors, has made it easier to trace the links between particular emissions and resulting harm.

Survivors of recent typhoons have joined civil organisations and Greenpeace to launch the campaign (Shutterstock)

A petition for justice

All of these elements come together in the Carbon Majors petition, which concerns harm caused by corporations that was largely foreseeable. Recent research suggests that corporations have long known about climate change and its likely consequences, but have failed to act on it.

So the petition can be likened to groundbreaking litigation for harm caused by smoking tobacco or by driving cars. Before successful court cases were brought, liability for either of these hazardous activities was hard to establish. It was only when courts started to attribute responsibility that victims were provided with redress, and dedicated insurance schemes and liability regimes were created.

The decision of the Philippines Human Rights Commission to investigate the Carbon Majors petition is, then, potentially revolutionary. In 2018, the commission will carry out a series of fact-finding missions and public hearings in the Philippines, London and New York to establish whether multinational corporations can be held responsible for human rights violations associated with climate change and, if so, recommend ways to mitigate them.

Far from being a symbolic gesture, this acknowledgement of multinationals’ role in causing climate change would be a primer, and could potentially spark a domino effect in climate change litigation elsewhere.

Corporations are already being brought to courts in the US, where the cities of New York and San Francisco are seeking to hold the world’s biggest oil companies responsible for present and future damage caused by climate change.

All eyes are now on the Philippines to see what conclusions its Human Rights Commission will draw; for many, it has already made history by deciding to investigate the Carbon Majors petition in the first place.

Annalisa Savaresi is a lecturer in environmental law and co-director of LLM/MSc environmental policy and governance at the University of Stirling, Ioana Cismas is a senior lecturer at the University of York and Jacques Hartmann is a senior lecturer and director of the LLM in international law and security at the University of Dundee. This article first appeared on The Conversation (

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How Fish Are Migrating from Warming Waters

Feeling the Heat: How Fish Are Migrating from Warming Waters

Steadily rising ocean temperatures are forcing fish to abandon their historic territories and move to cooler waters.

The result is that fishermen’s livelihoods are being disrupted, as fisheries regulators scramble to incorporate climate change into their planning.


The Cape Cod Canal is a serpentine artificial waterway that winds eight miles from Cape Cod Bay to Buzzards Bay. On warm summer evenings, anglers jostle along its banks casting for striped bass. That’s what 29-year-old Justin Sprague was doing the evening of August 6, 2013, when he caught a fish from the future.

Read this article in ESPAÑOL or PORTUGUÉS.

At first, Sprague thought the enormous fish that engulfed his Storm blue herring lure was a shark. But as he battled the behemoth in the gloaming — the fish leaping repeatedly, crashing down in sheets of spray — he realized he’d hooked something far weirder. When the fisherman finally dragged his adversary onto the beach, a small crowd gathered to admire the creature’s metallic body, flared dorsal fin, and rapier-like bill. Sprague had caught a sailfish.

It doesn’t take an ichthyologist to know that sailfish don’t belong in the Cape Cod Canal. Istiophorus albicans favors the tropics and subtropics; it so rarely visits New England that Massachusetts didn’t even have a state record. But strange catches — including cobia and torpedo rays — have become more commonplace. Over the last decade, the Gulf of Maine, the basin that stretches from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, has warmed faster than nearly every other tract of ocean on earth, as climate change joined forces with a natural oceanographic pattern called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation to increase sea surface temperatures by 3.6 F from 2004 to 2013. The results have been ecological transformation, upheaval in marine fisheries management, and an alarming window onto the warm future of global oceans.

Although the Gulf of Maine has faced tumultuous change, it’s far from the only marine ecosystem being turned upside-down. The general — although far from universal — trend, according to a 2013 Nature study, is that fish in hot water flee toward higher latitudes, moving poleward to remain within their preferred temperature ranges. In Portugal, fishermen have caught nearly 20 new species in recent years, many from warmer climes. Chinook salmon are infiltrating Arctic rivers that they rarely, if ever, entered before, even as salmon are imperiled by drought and warming waters in California and Oregon. And in northern Europe, says Steve Simpson, a marine ecologist at the University of Exeter in England, sardines have replaced herring, coldwater-loving cod and haddock are heading north, and bottom-dwelling sole risk being “pushed off a cliff” as suitably cool water temperatures drift away from the continental shelf.

The ocean is warmer today than at any time since record-keeping began in 1880.

“I’m optimistic that we can have sustainable and productive fisheries, but they’re not going to be the fish we used to catch,” Simpson says. “It’s a changing of the guard.”

For decades, the ocean has served as our best defense against climate change, absorbing 90 percent of the atmosphere’s excess heat. But acting as a planetary sponge has taken a toll. Since 1970, global sea surface temperature has increased by around 1 degree F. The ocean is warmer today than at any time since record-keeping began in 1880.

As water temperatures have spiked along the U.S. East Coast, the Atlantic’s inhabitants have undergone a dramatic rearrangement. According to an analysis by researchers at Rutgers University, black sea bass, once most abundant off the coast of North Carolina, have shifted two degrees of latitude north, to New Jersey, over the last half-century. Lobsters have all but vanished from Long Island Sound — where rising temperatures have made the crustaceans more susceptible to disease — and, at least for now, proliferated in the Gulf of Maine. Butterfish have supplanted herring in the Gulf, with disastrous consequences for baby puffins, which struggle to swallow the disc-shaped interlopers and starve to death. Even blue crabs, the invertebrate icon of Chesapeake and Delaware bays, have arrived in the Gulf of Maine. A recent study in the journal Progress in Oceanography suggested that continued warming could reduce the range of species from Acadian redfish to thorny skate.

Black sea bass, once abundant in North Carolina, have moved north to New England. NOAA NATIONAL OCEAN SERVICE

Although warming water is the most immediate agent of oceanic chaos, it’s just one front in climate change’s three-pronged assault on marine life. As the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide, it becomes more acidic and less saturated with the calcium carbonate that organisms like corals and pteropods — planktonic snails that support food webs — need to build shells. Fish are far from immune: Ocean acidification may disrupt the development of larval fish and reduce their survival rates, according to a study last year in the journal PLOS One.

Deoxygenation is an even more immediate threat. Scientists have long been acquainted with low-oxygen “dead zones” that form annually in the Gulf of Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay, and other coastal areas where agricultural runoff accumulates. As oceans heat up, those localized hypoxic areas are expected to spread: Not only does warm water hold less dissolved oxygen than cool water, it also tends to divide into layers that don’t readily mix. According to one recent study, the ocean has been losing oxygen since the mid-1980s, likely because rising temperatures have impeded circulation. Lisa Levin, a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, points out that not all creatures are equally fazed: Along the naturally oxygen-poor Pacific Coast, marine life is well evolved to cope. But all animals have their limits.

“When oxygen goes way down, it’s effectively habitat loss,” Levin says. “They might move north, they might move upslope into shallower water.” Species that can’t easily relocate, like muck-dwelling invertebrates, may perish.

The cruel corollary to deoxygenation is that warmer waters also drive up animals’ metabolic rates, forcing them to use more oxygen to breathe. As Curtis Deutsch,  a chemical oceanographer at the University of Washington, puts it, “They need more, at the same time that they have less.” In 2015, Deutsch and co-authors published a study in Science analyzing how the double bind of warm water and deoxygenation would change distributions for common species like cod, rock crab, and eelpout. Deutsch found the creatures would lose 14 to 26 percent of their habitat. “If you’re going to manage for the long-term viability of fisheries, you need to think carefully about the patterns of oxygen loss in the ocean,” Deutsch says.

As stocks shift, many fishermen face a choice: follow the schools northward, or pursue different species.

When climate change and its harmful effects force fish to relocate, entire ecosystems can suffer. That’s what’s happened in the Mediterranean, Australia, and Japan, where tropical grazers like parrotfish, butterflyfish, and rabbitfish have colonized once-temperate ecosystems. As these herbivores expand their range, they graze kelp forests to nubbins, leaving barren wastelands in their wake — a phenomenon known in Japan as isoyake.

Adriana Vergés, a marine ecologist at the University of New South Wales, says that the tropical incursion has created opportunities as well as crises. In the Mediterranean, a cottage fishery has developed around seaweed-munching rabbitfish, while coral has filled the niche vacated by kelp in some Japanese waters. But in other places, the disruption has been catastrophic: Vergés says that the combination of overgrazing and warming water has reduced the extent of kelp by around 60 miles along the coast in Western Australia, depleting valuable species, like abalone and lobster, which take cover beneath seaweed canopies. Vergés fears that kelp and its dependents may be driven south along the Australian coast until they simply run out of near-shore habitat.

“Here, species move toward the poles,” she says, “but there comes a point where they can’t move anymore.”

While poleward shifts are the rule, exceptions abound. In the Gulf of Maine, many species are drifting southwest instead, seeking cooler spots that form closer to shore. A 2013 Science study analyzed more than 350 groups of marine organisms and found that their movements closely followed local “climate velocity,” the rate and direction of climatic change. More surprising was that those shifts didn’t always track northward — species in the Gulf of Alaska, for instance, moved south in concord with a natural cycle of Pacific cooling. The lesson: The ocean doesn’t warm uniformly, and local conditions drive fish movements as much as broader trends.

In the face of rapid turnover, some agencies and fishing communities have begun considering seafood’s future. In 2016, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists found that around half the Northeast’s fish and shellfish were highly vulnerable to climate change — particularly species like shad, salmon, and sturgeon, which spend part of their lives in freshwater and must therefore contend with changing conditions in rivers as well as oceans. A parallel NOAA study suggested that ports whose economic fates are hitched to vulnerable species — like New Bedford, Massachusetts, which depends on scallops for around 80 percent of its landings — face particular risk, while towns like Point Judith, Rhode Island, whose fishermen catch the gamut from squid to monkfish to lobster, could fare better.

“Ports with fairly diverse fishing portfolios might have an easier time adapting,” says Jon Hare, director of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center.

As stocks shift, many fishermen face a choice: follow the schools northward, or pursue different species. Either way, larger-scale, well-heeled fishermen have an advantage, spelling further trouble for beleaguered “day boats” whose captains are already burdened by overfishing, stringent regulations, and industry consolidation. “It may be more difficult for (small-scale) fishermen to react to climate change, because they have less ability to go longer distances, they can carry fewer fish, and they may have less familiarity with fish species in another area,” warns Tom Nies, chairman of the New England Fishery Management Council.

In fits and starts, regulators have begun incorporating climate change into their decision-making: In 2014, for instance, NOAA used water temperature data to set catch limits for butterfish. But such case studies, Nies says, have been “few and far between,” and most regulations remain frustratingly rigid. As summer flounder, black sea bass, and other species migrate north, catch allocations have been slow to follow. Fishermen in North Carolina hold the highest black sea bass quota, for instance, even though the fishery has crept into New England. The absurd upshot is that North Carolinians must motor north for ten hours to catch their share, while New Englanders often have to discard bass.

“The impacts of a changing climate will be far more severe if the data used — and regulation that follows — fails to keep pace with environmental changes,” U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut cautioned in a 2016 letter to the inspector general of the Department of Commerce, which oversees NOAA.

The squabble over sea bass quotas looks positively tame compared to Europe’s so-called “herring and mackerel wars.” That altercation arose around 2010, as warming seas drove the two prized species away from Scottish and Irish waters and toward Iceland and the Faroe Islands. After Iceland and the Faroes — neither of which is a member of the European Union — unilaterally raised their own fishing quotas to exploit the sudden abundance, the irate EU imposed trade sanctions to rein in the catch. Although the combatants eventually negotiated a deal, the University of Exeter’s Simpson warns that the world almost certainly hasn’t seen the last of international disputes over border-crossing fish.

Tropical rabbitfish are now found in the Mediterranean.  POOJARATHOD/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

While fisheries managers can’t predict precisely how individual species will respond to warming oceans, they can implement nimbler regulatory systems capable of responding swiftly to environmental change.  When a vast pool of warm water, dubbed “The Blob,” materialized in the eastern Pacific in the past several years — an oceanographic oddity that, while not directly caused by climate change, had similar biodiversity-scrambling effects — Elliott Hazen, an ecologist at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, says the agency used it as a “climate stress test,” an opportunity for the government to assess its preparedness for future warming. For example, after California fishermen began hauling up halibut that usually dwell farther north — fish that had perhaps been displaced from their normal range by the Blob — the Pacific Fishery Management Council rapidly redistributed quotas from anglers in southern Oregon to fishermen in the Golden State.

The future of global fish movements may be murky, Hazen says, but scientists and managers need to get better at expecting the unexpected. “There are always going to be unforeseen events,” says Hazen. “What you can do is make sure your management plans are climate-ready.”

Ben Goldfarb is a freelance environmental journalist based in New Haven, Connecticut, and correspondent at High Country News.

His writing has appeared in Orion Magazine, Scientific American, and The Guardian, among other publications.

He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_A_Goldfarb. MORE



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20,000 scientists give dire warning about the future of humanity! #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

20,000 scientists give dire warning about the future in ‘letter to humanity’ – and the world is listening

Andrew GriffinWednesday 7 March 2018 13:00 GMT

A dire warning to the world about its future, which predicts catastrophe for humanity, is continuing to gain momentum.

The letter – which was first released in November – has now been signed by around 20,000 scientists. And the world seems to be listening: it is now one of the most discussed pieces of scientific research ever, and its publishers claim it is now influencing policy.

The new letter was actually an update to a an original warning sent from the Union of Concerned Scientists that was backed by 1,700 signatures 25 years ago.

It said that the world had changed dramatically since that warning was issued – and almost entirely for the worse.

Mankind is still facing the existential threat of runaway consumption of limited resources by a rapidly growing population, they warned. And “scientists, media influencers and lay citizens” aren’t doing enough to fight against it, the letter read.

If the world doesn’t act soon, there will be catastrophic biodiversity loss and untold amounts of human misery, they wrote.

Now scientists have written a follow-up piece in which they argue scientists and economists need to switch their focus from encouraging growth to conserving the planet. “There are critical environmental limits to resource-dependent economic growth,” the authors state.

The original letter was signed by more than 15,000 scientists. But it has since been endorsed by a further 4,500 – taking the total to around 20,000 and giving further encouragement to scientists working to counteract the dangers highlighted in the letter.

The lead author of the warning letter and new response paper, ecology Professor William Ripple, from Oregon State University, said: “Our scientists’ warning to humanity has clearly struck a chord with both the global scientific community and the public.”

The publishers of the letter now say that the letter is the sixth most-discussed piece of research since Altmetric records, which track publications’ impact, began. It has prompted speeches in the Israeli Knesset and Canada’s BC Legislature.

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We Need Courage, Not Hope, to Face Climate Change #auspol #StopAdani

We Need Courage, Not Hope, to Face Climate Change


As a climate scientist, I am often asked to talk about hope.

Particularly in the current political climate, audiences want to be told that everything will be all right in the end. And, unfortunately, I have a deep-seated need to be liked and a natural tendency to optimism that leads me to accept more speaking invitations than is good for me.

Climate change is bleak, the organizers always say.

Tell us a happy story.

Give us hope. The problem is, I don’t have any.

I used to believe there was hope in science. The fact that we know anything at all is a miracle. For some reason, the whole world is hung on a skeleton made of physics. I found comfort in this structure, in the knowledge that buried under layers of greenery and dirt lies something universal.

It is something to know how to cut away the flesh of existence and see the clean white bones underneath.

All of us obey the same laws, whether we know them or not.

Look closely, however, and the structure of physics dissolves into uncertainty.

We live in a statistical world, in a limit where we experience only one of many possible outcomes.

Our clumsy senses perceive only gross aggregates, blind to the roiling chaos underneath.

We are limited in our ability to see the underlying stimuli that, en masse, create an event.

Temperature, for example, is a state created by the random motions of millions of tiny molecules.

We feel heat or cold, not the motion of any individual molecule.

When something is heated up, its tiny constituent parts move faster, increasing its internal energy. They do not move at the same speed; some are quick, others slow. But there are billions of them, and in the aggregate their speed dictates their temperature.

The internal energy of molecule motion is turned outward in the form of electromagnetic radiation.

Light comes in different flavors.

The stuff we see occupies only a tiny portion of a vast electromagnetic spectrum.

What we see occupies a tiny portion of a vast electromagnetic spectrum.

Light is a wave, of sorts, and the distance between its peaks and troughs determines the energy it carries.

Cold, low-energy objects emit stretched waves with long, lazy intervals between peaks.

Hot objects radiate at shorter wavelengths.

To have a temperature is to shed light into your surroundings.

You have one.

The light you give off is invisible to the naked eye.

You are shining all the same, incandescent with the power of a hundred-watt bulb.

The planet on which you live is illuminated by the visible light of the sun and radiates infrared light to the blackness of space.

There is nothing that does not have a temperature.

Cold space itself is illuminated by the afterglow of the Big Bang.

Even black holes radiate, lit by the strangeness of quantum mechanics.

There is nowhere from which light cannot escape.

The same laws that flood the world with light dictate the behavior of a carbon dioxide molecule in the atmosphere.

CO2 is transparent to the Sun’s rays.

But the planet’s infrared outflow hits a molecule in just such as way as to set it in motion.

Carbon dioxide dances when hit by a quantum of such light, arresting the light on its path to space.

When the dance stops, the quantum is released back to the atmosphere from which it came.

No one feels the consequences of this individual catch-and-release, but the net result of many little dances is an increase in the temperature of the planet.

More CO2 molecules mean a warmer atmosphere and a warmer planet.

Warm seas fuel hurricanes, warm air bloats with water vapor, the rising sea encroaches on the land.

The consequences of tiny random acts echo throughout the world.

I understand the physical world because, at some level, I understand the behavior of every small thing.

I know how to assemble a coarse aggregate from the sum of multiple tiny motions.

Individual molecules, water droplets, parcels of air, quanta of light: their random movements merge to yield a predictable and understandable whole.

But physics is unable to explain the whole of the world in which I live.

The planet teems with other people: seven billion fellow damaged creatures.

We come together and break apart, seldom adding up to an coherent, predictable whole.

I have lived a fortunate, charmed, loved life.

This means I have infinite, gullible faith in the goodness of the individual.

But I have none whatsoever in the collective.

How else can it be that the sum total of so many tiny acts of kindness is a world incapable of stopping something so eminently stoppable?

California burns. Islands and coastlines are smashed by hurricanes.

At night the stars are washed out by city lights and the world is illuminated by the flickering ugliness of reality television.

We burn coal and oil and gas, heedless of the consequences.

Our laws are changeable and shifting; the laws of physics are fixed.

Change is already underway; individual worries and sacrifices have not slowed it.

Hope is a creature of privilege: we know that things will be lost, but it is comforting to believe that others will bear the brunt of it.

We are the lucky ones who suffer little tragedies unmoored from the brutality of history.

Our loved ones are taken from us one by one through accident or illness, not wholesale by war or natural disaster.

But the scale of climate change engulfs even the most fortunate.

There is now no weather we haven’t touched, no wilderness immune from our encroaching pressure.

The world we once knew is never coming back.

I have no hope that these changes can be reversed.

We are inevitably sending our children to live on an unfamiliar planet. But the opposite of hope is not despair. It is grief. Even while resolving to limit the damage, we can mourn. And here, the sheer scale of the problem provides a perverse comfort: we are in this together.

The swiftness of the change, its scale and inevitability, binds us into one, broken hearts trapped together under a warming atmosphere.

We need courage, not hope.

Grief, after all, is the cost of being alive.

We are all fated to live lives shot through with sadness, and are not worth less for it.

Courage is the resolve to do well without the assurance of a happy ending.

Little molecules, random in their movement, add together to a coherent whole. Little lives do not. But here we are, together on a planet radiating ever more into space where there is no darkness, only light we cannot see.

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More than 100 cities produce more than 70% of electricity from renewables. #auspol #StopAdani

100+ cities Produce More than 70% of Electricity from Renewables – CDP | UNFCCC

The transition to clean, renewable energy is a critical component of meeting Paris Climate Change Agreement goals, and cities around the world are increasingly taking up the challenge.

According to data published by the CDP, more cities than ever are reporting that they are powered by renewable electricity.

The global environmental impact non-profit CDP holds information from over 570 of the world’s cities and names over 100 now getting at least 70% of their electricity from renewable sources such as hydro, geothermal, solar and wind.

The list includes large cities such as Auckland (New Zealand); Nairobi (Kenya); Oslo (Norway); Seattle (USA) and Vancouver (Canada), and is more than double the 40 cities who reported that they were powered by at least 70% clean energy in 2015.

CDP’s analysis comes on the same day the UK100 network of local government leaders announce that over 80 UK towns and cities have committed to 100% clean energy by 2050, including Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and 16 London boroughs.

According to the World Economic Forum, unsubsidized renewables were the cheapest source of electricity in 30 countries in 2017, with renewables predicted to be consistently more cost effective than fossil fuels globally by 2020.

The new data has been released ahead of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conference in Edmonton, Canada on 5th March, when city government and science leaders will meet on the role of cities in tackling climate change.

Cities named by CDP as already powered by 100% renewable electricity include:

Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, now obtains 100% of its electricity from wind, solar, hydro, and biomass. The city has its own utility and citywide grid. In September 2014 the local community approved the city’s purchase of its ‘Winooski One’ Hydroelectric Facility.

“Burlington, Vermont is proud to have been the first city in the United States to source 100 percent of our power from renewable generation. Through our diverse mix of biomass, hydro, wind, and solar, we have seen first-hand that renewable energy boosts our local economy and creates a healthier place to work, live, and raise a family. We encourage other cities around the globe to follow our innovative path as we all work toward a more sustainable energy future,” added Mayor Miro Weinberger of Burlington.

Reykjavik, Iceland sources all electricity from hydropower and geothermal, and is now working to make all cars and public transit fossil-free by 2040. Iceland has almost entirely transitioned to clean energy for power and household heating.

Basel, Switzerland is 100% renewable powered by its own energy supply company. Most electricity comes from hydropower and 10% from wind. Advocating clear political vision and will, in May 2017 Switzerland voted to phase out nuclear power in favor of renewable energy.

CDP’s 2017 data highlights how cities are stepping up action on climate change with a sharp rise in environmental reporting, emissions reduction targets and climate action plans since 2015, following the ground-breaking Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees.

There is a growing momentum of the renewable energy cities movement beyond the UK, with cities around the world now aiming to switch from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

In the United States, 58 cities and towns have now committed to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy, including big cities like Atlanta (Georgia) and San Diego (California). Earlier this month, U.S. municipalities Denton (Texas) and St. Louis Park (Minnesota), became the latest communities to establish 100% renewable energy targets. In addition to these recent pledges, CDP data shows a further 23 global cities targeting 100% renewable energy.

Much of the drive behind city climate action and reporting comes from the 7,000+ mayors signed up to The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy who have pledged to act on climate change.

Kyra Appleby, Director of Cities, CDP said: “Cities are responsible for 70% of energy-related CO2 emissions and there is immense potential for them to lead on building a sustainable economy. Reassuringly, our data shows much commitment and ambition. Cities not only want to shift to renewable energy but, most importantly – they can. We urge all cities to disclose to us, work together to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and prioritize the development of ambitious renewable energy procurement strategies. The time to act is now.”

Showing a diverse mix of energy sources, 275 cities are now reporting the use of hydropower, with 189 generating electricity from wind and 184 using solar photovoltaics. An additional 164 use biomass and 65 geothermal.

CDP reports that cities are currently instigating renewable energy developments valued at US$2.3 billion, across nearly 150 projects. This forms part of a wider shift by cities to develop 1,000 clean infrastructure projects, such as electric transport and energy efficiency, worth over US$52 billion.

Read the relevant CDP press release here

For a full view of cities generating electricity from renewables, visit the CDP’s list of world renewable energy cities

Press link for more: COP23.UNFCCC

An economics for the 21st Century #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #doughnuteconomics

An economics for the 21st Century

An excellent interview on Late Night Live.

Phillip Adams interview with Kate Raworth Author of DoughNut Economics

Economist Kate Raworth argues that the way economics is practised needs to dramatically change to meet 21st century challenges.

As the world continues to overshoot the use of its finite resources, and 11 per cent of people don’t have enough food, 9 per cent of people don’t have access to clean water, and 1 in 3 people has no access to a toilet, what is the next step that corporations, governments and individuals urgently need to take?

Press link for more: ABC.NET.AU