Brazil

Climate Change As Genocide: Inaction Equals Annihilation #auspol 

Climate Change As Genocide: Inaction Equals Annihilation
Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com.
Not since World War II have more human beings been at risk from disease and starvation than at this very moment. On March 10th, Stephen O’Brien, under Secretary-General of the United Nations for humanitarian affairs, informed the Security Council that 20 million people in three African countries ― Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan ― as well as in Yemen were likely to die if not provided with emergency food and medical aid. “We are at a critical point in history,” he declared. “Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the U.N.” Without coordinated international action, he added, “people will simply starve to death [or] suffer and die from disease.”

Major famines have, of course, occurred before, but never in memory on such a scale in four places simultaneously. According to O’Brien, 7.3 million people are at risk in Yemen, 5.1 million in the Lake Chad area of northeastern Nigeria, 5 million in South Sudan, and 2.9 million in Somalia. In each of these countries, some lethal combination of war, persistent drought, and political instability is causing drastic cuts in essential food and water supplies. Of those 20 million people at risk of death, an estimated 1.4 million are young children.
Despite the potential severity of the crisis, U.N. officials remain confident that many of those at risk can be saved if sufficient food and medical assistance is provided in time and the warring parties allow humanitarian aid workers to reach those in the greatest need. “We have strategic, coordinated, and prioritized plans in every country,” O’Brien said. “With sufficient and timely financial support, humanitarians can still help to prevent the worst-case scenario.”
All in all, the cost of such an intervention is not great: an estimated $4.4 billion to implement that U.N. action plan and save most of those 20 million lives. 
The international response?

 Essentially, a giant shrug of indifference.

To have time to deliver sufficient supplies, U.N. officials indicated that the money would need to be in pocket by the end of March.

 It’s now April and international donors have given only a paltry $423 million ― less than a tenth of what’s needed.

 While, for instance, President Donald Trump sought Congressional approval for a $54 billion increase in U.S. military spending (bringing total defense expenditures in the coming year to $603 billion) and launched $89 million worth of Tomahawk missiles against a single Syrian air base, the U.S. has offered precious little to allay the coming disaster in three countries in which it has taken military actions in recent years. 

As if to add insult to injury, on February 15th Trump told Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that he was inclined to sell his country 12 Super-Tucano light strike aircraft, potentially depleting Nigeria of $600 million it desperately needs for famine relief.    
Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the U.N.

Moreover, just as those U.N. officials were pleading fruitlessly for increased humanitarian funding and an end to the fierce and complex set of conflicts in South Sudan and Yemen (so that they could facilitate the safe delivery of emergency food supplies to those countries), the Trump administration was announcing plans to reduce American contributions to the United Nations by 40%.

 It was also preparing to send additional weaponry to Saudi Arabia, the country most responsible for devastating air strikes on Yemen’s food and water infrastructure. 

This goes beyond indifference. 

This is complicity in mass extermination.
Like many people around the world, President Trump was horrified by images of young children suffocating from the nerve gas used by Syrian government forces in an April 4th raid on the rebel-held village of Khan Sheikhoun. 

“That attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me ― big impact,” he told reporters.

 “That was a horrible, horrible thing. And I’ve been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that.”

 In reaction to those images, he ordered a barrage of cruise missile strikes on a Syrian air base the following day. But Trump does not seem to have seen ― or has ignored ― equally heart-rending images of young children dying from the spreading famines in Africa and Yemen.

 Those children evidently don’t merit White House sympathy.
Who knows why not just Donald Trump but the world is proving so indifferent to the famines of 2017? 

 It could simply be donor fatigue or a media focused on the daily psychodrama that is now Washington, or growing fears about the unprecedented global refugee crisis and, of course, terrorism. 

 It’s a question worth a piece in itself, but I want to explore another one entirely.
Here’s the question I think we all should be asking: Is this what a world battered by climate change will be like ― one in which tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of people perish from disease, starvation, and heat prostration while the rest of us, living in less exposed areas, essentially do nothing to prevent their annihilation?
Famine, Drought, and Climate Change

First, though, let’s consider whether the famines of 2017 are even a valid indicator of what a climate-changed planet might look like. 

After all, severe famines accompanied by widespread starvation have occurred throughout human history. In addition, the brutal armed conflicts now underway in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen are at least in part responsible for the spreading famines. 

In all four countries, there are forces ― Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabaab in Somalia, assorted militias and the government in South Sudan, and Saudi-backed forces in Yemen ― interfering with the delivery of aid supplies. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that pervasive water scarcity and prolonged drought (expected consequences of global warming) are contributing significantly to the disastrous conditions in most of them. 

The likelihood that droughts this severe would be occurring simultaneously in the absence of climate change is vanishingly small.
In fact, scientists generally agree that global warming will ensure diminished rainfall and ever more frequent droughts over much of Africa and the Middle East. 

This, in turn, will heighten conflicts of every sort and endanger basic survival in a myriad of ways. In their most recent 2014 assessment of global trends, the scientists of the prestigious Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that “agriculture in Africa will face significant challenges in adapting to climate changes projected to occur by mid-century, as negative effects of high temperatures become increasingly prominent.” Even in 2014, as that report suggested, climate change was already contributing to water scarcity and persistent drought conditions in large parts of Africa and the Middle East. Scientific studies had, for instance, revealed an “overall expansion of desert and contraction of vegetated areas” on that continent. With arable land in retreat and water supplies falling, crop yields were already in decline in many areas, while malnutrition rates were rising ― precisely the conditions witnessed in more extreme forms in the famine-affected areas today.
It’s seldom possible to attribute any specific weather-induced event, including droughts or storms, to global warming with absolute certainty. Such things happen with or without climate change. Nonetheless, scientists are becoming even more confident that severe storms and droughts (especially when occurring in tandem or in several parts of the world at once) are best explained as climate-change related. If, for instance, a type of storm that might normally occur only once every hundred years occurs twice in one decade and four times in the next, you can be reasonably confident that you’re in a new climate era.

It will undoubtedly take more time for scientists to determine to what extent the current famines in Africa and Yemen are mainly climate-change-induced and to what extent they are the product of political and military mayhem and disarray. But doesn’t this already offer us a sense of just what kind of world we are now entering?
History and social science research indicate that, as environmental conditions deteriorate, people will naturally compete over access to vital materials and the opportunists in any society ― warlords, militia leaders, demagogues, government officials, and the like ― will exploit such clashes for their personal advantage. “The data suggests a definite link between food insecurity and conflict,” points out Ertharin Cousin, head of the U.N.’s World Food Program. “Climate is an added stress factor.” In this sense, the current famines in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen provide us with a perfect template for our future, one in which resource wars and climate mayhem team up as temperatures continue their steady rise.
As environmental conditions deteriorate, people will naturally compete over access to vital materials, and the opportunists… will exploit such clashes for their personal advantage.

Press link for more: Huffington Post

Scientists March For Truth. #auspol 

Scientists to take to the streets in global march for truth.

By Mark Lynas
March for Science on 22 April will see scientists and supporters at more than 500 locations stand up for evidence-based thinking.


Scientists and science supporters will take to the streets in a global March for Science on 22 April . 

What began as a small Facebook group in the US capital, Washington DC has spiralled into a global phenomenon that will now see marches and other events in more than 500 locations around the world, from Seattle to Seoul.
It is great news that so many people are prepared to stand up and defend the need for evidence-based thinking and the scientific method. 

But it is also a sad comment on our times that a March for Science is needed at all. 


Post-truth populism has infected democracies around the world, scientific objectivity is under threat from multiple sources and there seems a real danger of falling into a modern dystopian dark age.
It is clear that the old days of scientists staying in the lab, publishing papers in scholarly journals, and otherwise letting the facts speak for themselves are over. 

As the Harvard science historian Naomi Oreskes reminds us: “The facts don’t speak for themselves because we live in a world where so many people are trying to silence facts.” 

In her book, Merchants of Doubt, Oreskes wrote about these efforts from the tobacco industry onwards; science denialist attempts that are paralleled in today’s climate sceptic, anti-vaccine and anti-GMO movements.


These campaigners against truth take great pains to deny the existence of scientific consensus on their different issues. 

The fact that 97% of the peer-reviewed literature on climate change supports the consensus that most of global warming is human-induced is dismissed as mere elitism. 

But as Dr Sarah Evanega, director of the Alliance for Science at Cornell, writes: “The values we defend are those of the Enlightenment, not the establishment.” 

Expertise is real, and we reject it at our peril.

Perhaps the most inspiring aspect of the March for Science, and what may prove to be its most enduring legacy, is its truly global nature. 

Science is not western; it is everywhere and for everyone. 

I have worked with Alliance for Science colleagues to help get marches off the ground in Bangladesh, Nigeria, Uganda, Venezuela, Chile and other places.

 In between long Skype calls about logistics, fundraising, and media outreach I watched the lights flash on as the number of marches on the global map kept on increasing. 

It was like watching the world light up with knowledge.
Bangladesh March for Science’s lead organiser Arif Hossain says: “I am marching to let the world know that we are united for science in Bangladesh. 

We have 160 million people to feed in the changed climate, and together we will make a better day with science and innovation.”
Although the issues of most concern vary in different locations, appreciation of the need for science is global. As Nkechi Isaac, an organiser of the March for Science in Abuja, Nigeria, says: “Science is revolutionary.

 It holds the key to constant development and improvement for addressing climate change, food shortage and challenges in medicine. Science holds the solution to our food security.”
Nigerians can testify to the tragic effects of anti-science activism. Efforts to eradicate polio in the country were held up for years because of conspiracy theories spread by those suspicious of modern medicine and vaccines. People die when science is denied.
So here’s what we will be marching for.

 It’s time to enter the post-post-truth era. 

And there is no time to lose.

• Mark Lynas is a science and environment writer and a visiting fellow at the Alliance for Science at Cornell University.

Press link for more: The Guardian

The Science that reveals #ClimateChange is Sound. #auspol 

Valley Voice: The science that reveals climate change is sound

By Dwight Fine 

In his April 10 Valley Voice, “Another opinion on climate science,” Larry Wilhelmsen expresses skepticism over climate change and bases that skepticism, in part, on a petition signed by “31,000 people with various science-related degrees,” and on two publications by atmospheric scientists. 

This illustrates the denialist techniques of “fake experts” and “magnified minority.”
The “petition signed by 31,000 scientists” has long since been discredited. 

The petition was sent out by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, a small group calling itself a research organization. 

Anyone with a bachelors degree or higher in a science-related field was invited to sign. 

Examination of the signatures showed that only about 0.1% of the signers had ever had any involvement with climate science research.

I do not feel that my own Ph.D. in chemistry qualifies me to speak with authority on climatology; instead, I look for the consensus of scientists who have actually done research in the field and have published their results in peer-reviewed journals.

Studies of publications of climatologists have been carried out at Queensland University, the University of Chicago and Princeton University. These studies examined some 12,000 publications.

 The average for the studies showed that 97 percent of climate scientists supported the hypothesis that global warming is real and mainly induced by human activity.

Furthermore, some 30 major scientific societies such as the American Chemical, Physical and Geological Societies have now endorsed this hypothesis, as have the national science academies of 80 countries. Are we to believe that all of these scientists, societies and academies are engaged in a gigantic conspiracy to perpetrate a hoax?
Wilhelmsen states that climate has changed forever and that advocates of human-induced climate change have stopped calling it global warming because warming was stopping. Stopping? 2016 was the warmest year on record, according to data reported by NASA and NOAA, and 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. Yes, the climate has always changed, but it has never changed at such an abrupt rate as we are observing now. The term ”climate change” came into use so as to be more inclusive of events other than increased surface temperatures.
Such events include:

1) increased severity of blizzards, tornadoes, flooding and wildfires;

2) sea level rise;

3) warming of oceans and increasing acidification of ocean waters due to increased concentrations of carbonic acid; this has led to extensive destruction of coral reefs;

4) declining Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets;

5) declining Arctic sea ice – we now have cruise ships sailing the once impenetrable Northwest Passage;

6) retreating of glaciers in the Himalayas, Andes, Alps, Rockies and Alaska.


As to the “pleasures” we owe to fossil fuels the Wilhelmsen referenced, such pleasures are becoming limited. Reserves of coal and oil are finite and non-renewable, and these fuels become increasingly difficult, expensive and hazardous to extract as reserves are depleted. Landscapes are littered with abandoned strip mines and oilfields, often laden with toxic chemicals. Renewable energy would seem to offer far greater potential in the way of jobs and development.
For readers confused by denialist rhetoric in regard to climate change, I recommend the websites climate.nasa.gov and skeptical science.com.
Dwight Fine is a retired research chemist living in Palm Springs. Email him at dwigf@msn.com.

Press link for more: Elpaso Times

Climate of Hope #auspol #doughnuteconomics 

Michael Bloomberg Says Cities Must Now Lead The Way On Climate Change

Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet, by Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope 

Outside of Washington, D.C., however, the prospects for climate action look more favorable. You can point to what’s happening at the city level, where mayors are promoting low-carbon buildings, electric cars, and more resilient infrastructure. You can point to the energy industry in general, which seems more concerned with market signals than political signals. And you can point to how strong majorities of Americans want politicians to accept and face up to global warming.
In their new book, Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet, Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope, the former executive director of the Sierra Club, argue that a beyond-D.C. approach offers the best opportunity for dealing with climate change. Mayors have more autonomy than national leaders, they say. They’re more accountable to voters for dealing with climate-related problems like pollution and extreme weather events. They originate most of the emissions that cause climate change, and they face the greatest threats from its impacts. And urban populations are generally more supportive of climate action than rural ones.
“Mayors tend to be more pragmatic and less ideological than national legislators, because they are more accountable to voters, and more visible,” former New York City Mayor Bloomberg writes. “The public can see what mayors do, while it’s harder to understand what elected officials at the state level do . . . and much harder at the federal level.”
Empower Cities To Lead
If cities are going to be centers of climate action, they need more tools for the job. “Giving more cities authority to take action on their own–particularly on energy and transportation–is one of the most important steps we can take to address climate change,” Bloomberg writes in the book.
If the Trump administration decides to leave the Paris climate agreement, Bloomberg says U.S. cities should consider joining the accord in their own capacity. “Washington will not have the last word on the fate of the Paris Agreement in the U.S.–mayors will, together with business leaders and citizens,” he wrote in a New York Times op-ed last year.
That independence could also include allowing them to make choices independent of state or federal authority on where they buy electricity (only six states currently sanction this). Twenty-five U.S. cities have now committed to buy all their power from renewable sources.
Or it could mean borrowing money for climate investments more easily. Only 4% of the world’s cities currently have their own credit ratings, enabling them to enter financial markets, Pope says. Others don’t have the power to raise taxes, including many in Africa and South America.

Press link for more: fastcompany.com

Climate Change Predictions are accurate #auspol #science 

By Robert S. Eshelman 

Climate change contrarians have used many arguments to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that the atmosphere is warming and humans are to blame. 

They’ve alleged that tens of thousands of scientists, working across dozens of different disciplines, have organized a vast conspiracy to manipulate data. They’ve said more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will actually be a benefit because it will boost agricultural production. And they’ve even said that global warming has paused in recent years.

 

But their primary tactic these days appears to be to acknowledge that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is increasing due to human causes, but suggest that the scientific community just can’t pin down what impact those emissions will have on the climate system.

 

Trump’s EPA administrator Scott Pruitt made that claim during his Senate confirmation hearing, as did former ExxonMobil CEO turned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

 

Kyle Armour of the University of Washington, writing in Nature Climate Change, says that, actually, the scientific community has done quite well at developing accurate predictions of how sensitive the atmosphere and oceans are to carbon pollution.

 

The debate, he says, pivots around a number called equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), which is the temperature change that scientists expect to occur with a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere compared to before the Industrial Revolution.

 

“This is the number that’s been essentially at the heart of climate change predictions for decades now,” he said. “It has a lot of policy relevance. If this number is high, we have a very sensitive Earth that will warm up a lot in response to greenhouse gases. If the number is low, we have a less sensitive climate system that would warm up a lot less.”

 

Put another way, climate sensitivity tells us how we need to limit greenhouse gas emissions in order to stay well below an average global temperature increase of 2°C compared to the mid-19th century, which many scientists say is a dangerous threshold to pass.

 

The problem is observations collected over the past 100 years have shown the climate to be less sensitive to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations than computer models of the climate have predicted.

 

And that’s where Armour got to work.

 

“It appeared that newer observations suggested a fairly low climate sensitivity in the range of about 2°C for a doubling of CO2, whereas the models suggested a higher climate sensitivity more in the range of 3°C for a doubling of CO2,” he said. “What I was interested in with the study was basically how much of the discrepancy between the observations and the models could be explained by the fact that climate sensitivity changes over time.”

 
 

There’s an incredible amount of inertia built into Earth’s climate system. The increased amount of energy trapped in the atmosphere due to all of the greenhouse gas emissions from our coal-fired power plants and internal combustion engines takes many decades to fully take effect.
And the climate system works in complex ways. When rising air temperatures in the Arctic melt summer sea ice, for example, it creates larger areas of dark, open ocean which absorb rather than reflect sunlight, which in turn causes more global warming. That type of feedback loop combined with the inertia of the climate system means climate change doesn’t move along smooth, linear plots on a line graph.

 

Armour found that while observations might show climate sensitivity to be on the lower end, the models are picking up quite well the amount of warming that emerges over the long-term.

 

“The conclusions are really two-fold,” said Armour. “When the models are treated consistently with the observations, that is measuring climate sensitivity within the models in the same way you would with the observations, it brings that value of sensitivity in the models downward, meaning they’re not too sensitive.”

 

“But the other way you could view the results,” he added, “is that the model range of future warming is rather realistic, meaning that our apparent climate sensitivity we get from the observations can be expected to increase in the future, meaning more global warming than you might naïvely expect from taking just that low value that people have been talking about from the observations.”

 

Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climate scientist not involved in the study, said Armour’s findings complemented the results of a 2016 report on climate sensitivity conducted by researchers at NASA and Columbia University. 

 

“What Armour finds is that [feedback loops] do change and in such a way that if you estimate the final sensitivity from just the early period you will end up underestimating the ECS,” he said in an email. “This is important because that’s almost exactly what’s happening when we try and use recent temperature trends to estimate the ECS. Those estimates have tended to come in lower than others, in ways that aren’t consistent with our understandings of processes or paleoclimate. So this result makes those studies much more consistent with other methods.”

 

Armour pointed to a pair of feedbacks that have yet to take effect, but are likely to lead to significant levels of warming.

 

“Over the next several decades to centuries we expect the Southern Ocean to warm up almost as much as the Arctic and get that big, positive feedback to start kicking in,” he said. “So it’s really that delay in the positive feedbacks kicking in that causes this increase in climate sensitivity into the future.”

 

That feedback in the southern hemisphere is projected to occur when ocean temperatures in the Southern Ocean warm, melting sea ice, like is already happening in the Arctic, causing the ocean to absorb more sunlight and leading to greater amounts warming.

 

Increased warming in the eastern tropical Pacific over the next several decades, he added, is is likely to diminish cloud cover in the region. That cloud cover, like sea ice in the Arctic and Southern Ocean, reflects incoming sunlight. 

 

“Initially in the very early stages of global warming, like today, like we’ve seen over the last hundred years, your clouds in the eastern tropical Pacific are actually acting to limit global warming, it has a negative, damping impact,” he said. “But in the future, say over the next several decades, we expect those to be a positive feedback, enhancing global warming.”

 

What Armour didn’t find was any suggestion that Earth’s climate might somehow absorb all of our increased greenhouse gas emissions and warm less than any climate model has predicted.

 

“There are no examples of models showing a decrease in sensitivity by any significant amount,” he said. “That range of predicted warming in the future, is actually, as far as we can tell, pretty accurate.”

 

And those predictions, whether gleaned from UN reports or NASA or any other peer-reviewed account, warn of dangerous changes to the climate, which could imperil millions of people and future generations.

 

“This is a good result for the scientists — because it closes a hole of inconsistency — but in terms of the ‘public’ argument, this won’t matter,” said NASA’s Schmidt. “The contrarians have been ignoring studies like this for years, and I doubt they will stop doing so now.”

Press link for more: Seeker.com

Sea Level Rise Will Be Catastrophic. #auspol 

A state-commissioned report on climate change released Wednesday raises the stakes for fighting global warming, offering a clearer and, in some cases, more catastrophic picture of how much sea levels will rise in California.

By Kurtis Alexander
The Bay Area will see the ocean swell as much as 3.4 feet by 2100 if significant action isn’t taken, the report says.

 The scientists who produced the study pegged the prospect of that outcome at 67 percent.

 Tougher action on greenhouse gases would mean a lesser rise of up to 2.4 feet, the study says.
The scope of the likely rise is largely in line with earlier estimates, but not completely. 

One worst-case scenario says ocean levels could rise 10 feet by century’s end, which would swamp countless homes, roads, harbors and even airports along the coast.

“We have learned that the potential for a higher sea level is greater than we thought,” said Gary Griggs, a professor of Earth sciences at UC Santa Cruz and one of seven climate experts who prepared the report.
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency thinks the Paris climate change agreement is a “bad deal” for the US. According to Reuters, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt did not confirm in that same statement, given sunday, whether the United States would remain in the global climate change pact. 

In the 2015 agreement, nearly all countries agreed to halt or curb their greenhouse gas emissions, even the world’s biggest emitter China.

Media: WochIt Media

The 71-page document was requested by the California Natural Resources Agency and the California Ocean Protection Council, in collaboration with the governor’s office, to help state and local officials plan for rising seas.
The report, an update of a 2013 state analysis, lays out expected ocean levels through 2150 for a number of locations and scenarios varying with the amount of greenhouse gas emissions globally.
Last year, nearly 200 nations committed in Paris to curb greenhouse gases enough so that the Earth’s temperature wouldn’t rise more than 2 degrees Celsius. 

The emission targets are not binding, however, and many scientists predict that President Trump’s executive order aimed at repealing Obama administration limits on coal-fired power plant pollution will prevent the U.S. from reaching its target.
The new analysis for California is based largely on recent, better information on ice melt at the Earth’s poles.


The main drivers of rising seas to date have been melting glaciers and the expansion of water that naturally occurs as temperatures warm. 

However, thawing ice sheets will soon become the primary contributor, according to the state-commissioned study.
The report indicates that Greenland has enough ice to raise global sea level by 24 feet while Antarctica has enough to lift oceans 187 feet. 

Glaciers, meanwhile, contain only enough ice to raise seas 1.5 feet.
While these continent-size masses of ice are not expected to completely melt, even a small amount of liquefaction could have big effects, particularly for California.
Because the ocean at the poles is lifted by strong gravitational forces, when that ice thaws and water is released toward the tropics, the liquid relaxes and spreads out, according to Griggs.
“It turns out for Antarctica, the biggest impact is along the California coast,” he said.
For every foot of global sea-level rise caused by melting ice in the western Antarctic, California will see the the ocean rise about 1.25 feet, according to the report.
The report emphasizes the importance of preparing for the spike.
“California leads the way in both addressing climate change and protecting our coastal and ocean communities and resources,” Jenn Eckerle, deputy director of the Ocean Protection Council, said in a statement.

 “Our statewide policy on sea-level rise is another example of that leadership.

 We provide guidance to state agencies and local governments for incorporating sea-level rise projections into planning, permitting, investment, and other decisions.”

Press link for more: SFGate.com

The Solution Is Global Equality #auspol 

The Solution To Extremism Is Global Equality

By Stephan Said
The solution to extremism surrounding us today is global equality. 

To stop the religious, ethnic, and political extremism killing people from Colorado Springs, to Baghdad, San Bernardino and Bamako — to stop the environmental extremism that is burning up our planet — we must stop global inequality, imperialism and greed.
The entire human race is faced with a great ideological dilemma. 

We cannot separate ISIL, planned-parenthood shooters, or global warming. From extreme violence to extreme weather, extremism is rising like the oceans around us because the moral bankruptcy of our troubled world is pushing people and our planet to extremes — suicide bombings and natural disasters.
What we are witnessing is the failure of all existing ideologies and socio-economic systems on earth to have created a sustainable society in which we live in peace. 

We are all responsible for this failure. 

We have destroyed the cradle of civilization, killed millions and created the biggest refugee crisis in generations, for the control of the oil that is making the ice caps melt. 

Anyone who is angry is justified.
However mistaken violent extremism is as a response, it is offering would-be recruits a way to do something to change this unjust world not tomorrow, but today. 

If we want to win this war, we can only do so by lifting a higher, universal ideology by which humankind can live in peace with each other and with nature.
This ideological war is as old as human civilization, and so is the answer. 

No civilization is sustainable unless all of its members are treated as equals, and unless that civilization lives in harmony with nature.

Writers such as Arundhati Roy, Thomas Piketty, Nicolas Henin and Naomi Klein have drawn these connections in recent articles. But, the fact is, humankind has known the deal for thousands of years. We don’t have time to waste restating the obvious. It is urgent. The human race is facing its long-anticipated day of reckoning with its own failure to create a just world.
We have to pick up the torch where Martin Luther King, Jr. left it. 

The cause of global warming and of rising violence between us on earth is due to social and economic inequality. The answer is to organize a mass, global non-violent movement for equality.
We must get beyond the institutional language of a “more equitable world.” Equality is a universal way of being that must become a new socio-economic order that commits to and promises the idea that all people everywhere live equally with each other and nature.
We must demand a united global society across borders. 

We must demand every human being is cared for, fed, housed, educated, given equal voice and dignity, everywhere. We must demand a world in which humankind restores everything we take from nature. 

We must demand that we leave our world better than we found it, not selfishly for our children, but out of deference to the laws of nature itself.


First and foremost we must demand this of ourselves, as it will take unbelievable tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness to do so. 

Then, we must demand this of our governments, religions, political parties, and economic forces, and we must be willing to go into the streets non-violently demanding this global shift.
When we accept that we are all equals with each other and nature, we will not be able to be manipulated and separated from each other by false notions such as ethnicity, religiosity, nationality, or superiority of any kind. This is the only way to peace.
Peace is not impossible. 

I know, because I am the impossible.

 My aunt and cousins from Mosul, Iraq are now refugees because ISIL occupied their next-door neighbors’ house. 

The U.S. sent fighter jets and bombed it to the ground. They had to abandon everything and are somewhere across the border in Turkey.
My father’s Iraqi, Muslim family are refugees for the same reason that my mother’s Austrian, part-Catholic part-Jewish family were refugees and imprisoned or died in Dachau, Mauthausen and Auschwitz.

 Including my cousins’ children today, 6 consecutive generations of my family have been refugees as Catholics, Jews, and Muslims, because of inequality.
With all sides of the prevailing conflict consuming our world today within me, I’ve spent my life studying the single cause of war and hatred simply to be at peace with and construct my own identity. Inequality is the single cause of the chaos enveloping our world.
The majority of us on earth, in every country, in every religion, of every ethnicity knows what we have to do. 

Many people, parents, teachers, governments, and organizations are already working on the systemic shift necessary for the survival of humankind and our planet.

 I have given my entire career and written countless songs to build such a movement. But now, we must come together and turn our demand into action.
We are faced with the task of creating a new global socio-economic model sufficient to create sustainable peace on earth. A mass non-violent movement demanding that all people live equally with each other, loving each other, caring for our planet, is the only solution. 

We have to start today.
Press link for more: Huffington Post

Climate Change is Rapidly Accelerating! #auspol #Qldpol 

Climate change is rapidly accelerating. 

By  Paul Dawson

Data shows 16 of the world’s 17 hottest years have occurred since 2000. 


Carbon dioxide concentrations have accelerated to the highest levels in human history. 

There is no natural explanation for this. 

Scientists and models may have been too conservative in the past. 

The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, heat waves, droughts, flooding and wildfires are all accelerating. So are health effects from climate change, such as heat stress, air pollution and infectious diseases. Oceans are warming about 13 percent faster than previously thought and the destruction of coral reefs is happening at a rate that scientists didn’t expect for another 30 years.


The Arctic is warming at two to four times the rate as the rest of the planet.

 Sea ice is melting from above and below and is very shallow. Greenland ice sheets are also quickly melting and are increasing global sea levels. As the Arctic warms and loses its ice, it absorbs more solar radiation and warming accelerates. This produces more water vapor, a greenhouse gas. In addition, the Arctic permafrost melts and some of the abundant greenhouse gases (GHG) of methane and carbon dioxide from organic materials in the frozen soil are released into the atmosphere. In time, humanity’s release of GHG may be small in comparison to the natural release mechanisms of the GHG from the ocean, wetlands, soils, and permafrost of the Arctic. But this tipping point has not been reached yet.
 

Many Americans seem to lack a sense of urgency in dealing with climate change. 

A few years ago, mankind used chlorofluorocarbons as refrigerants and in aerosol dispensers and these chemicals reacted with ozone to create a hole in the ozone layer of the atmosphere. The ozone layer absorbs harmful solar ultraviolet radiation. Thankfully, the countries respected scientific findings and agreed to stop using the damaging chemicals. Now, ozone is filling in the opening and the ozone crisis has ended.
Fortunately, renewable energy can now compete economically with fossil fuel energy, especially if energy subsidies were removed. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that global energy subsidies, including the social and environmental costs associated with heavily subsidized fossil fuels, are costing the world’s governments upward of $5 trillion annually. This figure includes over $700 billion in subsidies to U.S. fossil fuel companies. This is equivalent to every American giving fossil fuel corporations $2,180 annually in the form of taxes. This is absurd and shocking. The IMF said that ending subsidies for fossil fuels would cut global carbon emissions by 20 percent.
Let’s end energy subsidies. 

Let’s reverse carbon and methane emissions.

 Let’s support the Paris Agreement and make climate change a high priority for us and for our elected officials. 

Please join the People’s Climate March on Saturday, April 29.
Paul Dawson is an emeritus professor of engineering at Boise State University, specializing in the thermal sciences, atmospheric science and renewable energy.
CLIMATE MARCH

The People’s Climate March in Idaho, hosted by Idaho Sierra Club, will be at noon Saturday, April 29, at the Idaho Capitol in Boise. Call (208) 384-1023 for details.

Press link for more: Idaho Statesman

We Can’t Ignore Existential Threats #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange 

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
It’s a disorienting year in many democracies, and we are trying to define this moment. Last week, writer Francis Fukuyama talked about democracy in crisis.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
FRANCIS FUKUYAMA: People need to pay attention. They need to participate. The problem, I think, really is in the polarization that there’s so much anger and distrust between the two sides of this divide.
MARTIN: Today, Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and United Nations Human Rights Commissioner – she sees a moment of self-interest. Less than three years ago, a global climate agreement showed global cooperation. Now, she says, much has changed.
MARY ROBINSON: It’s quite a strange moment because we had a very strong multilateral set of frameworks that were adopted. And then somehow we seem to be now going into identity nationalism in a narrow sense, hate speech, wanting to do down the other or fear of the other.
MARTIN: People seem to be running away from global cooperation, she says. I asked Mary Robinson if she sympathizes with the average workers around the globe who feel global institutions and agreements have left them behind.
ROBINSON: I do because I think we do have a very, very unequal world, and it’s getting worse. And that is breaking down the trust for a lot of young people who are very cynical about the political framework because they see the countries that preach democracy and human rights being countries largely responsible in their view for the problems in their region, you know, for wars like especially the war in Iraq and what happened in Libya and what’s happening now in Syria and the lack of sort of honest discourse about responsibility.
I think the frameworks that we saw adopted in 2015 are the answer, are the way forward. How do we get back on track to that?
MARTIN: How do you make that happen when everything in this moment is pointing the other direction, when people feel left out of this, when they don’t see any benefit from these international agreements?
ROBINSON: Well, I do think we have to listen and take onboard the fact that there are very many people who feel left out, who feel their incomes are shrinking who are part of a Rust Belt in the United States, who are part of worrying about migrants taking their jobs, etc. We have to be sensitive to all of those issues.
But I think we have to then continue with not just our values but the fact that the world faces a genuine existential threat of climate change, and it’s a battle for the minds and hearts of the moment. And it’s a battle that can’t be lost by the side that knows that it is clean energy and a fairer world of solidarity that will bring us forward.
MARTIN: It’s no secret that there is a level of skepticism here in the United States about the ability of international organizations to make real change. And, as you know, critics often cite the fact that countries with horrible human rights records have been allowed to sit on the U.N. Human Rights Commission – Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, at one point Libya was the chair of the commission.
ROBINSON: I’m aware of that skepticism, but actually I saw in reality that it can help to have countries with quite bad records in organizations. It’s good to have them involved because then their own civil society can come to Geneva and hold them to account, and they do.
I mean, they come from all over the world, and it’s their one chance to have their country in the dock and to accuse it, and if they’re members of the Human Rights Council to accuse it all the more seriously.
MARTIN: If I could ask you about a real world case in this moment. The U.S. strikes in Syria against the Assad regime came in response to this chemical weapons attack that left so many civilians in Italy province dead. Do you support that strike? Do you think it was a good idea?
ROBINSON: I think it’s hard to answer that in one liner. You have to look at the terrible tragedy of what has happened in Syria. It’s not right that chemical weapons have been used more than once, as we know, but I also don’t like hasty gestures. And I think that this was something done, perhaps, in haste to prove a point, rather than of necessity after due consideration that this had to be done.
At the same time, I’m just worried about how this will play out in the future because the message has gone that a country can act unilaterally and bomb. Are other countries listening? And what message are they getting?
MARTIN: I wonder if I could ask an even broader question about how you think of intervention for humanitarian purposes. I mean, Western democracies have tended to intervene when there’s a connection to their own self-interest. But there are plenty of other situations where that link is not necessarily apparent. You take the Rohingya in Myanmar, the slaughter happening now in South Sudan or Nigeria. Do you think all these crisis demand intervention? And if not, how do you decide which lives are worth saving and which are not?
ROBINSON: I think we have a real problem of double standards. To me there should always be a very open, generous, solidarity response to genuine humanitarian problems, and they shouldn’t be linked to is this in my interest as a country? You know, the word intervention is a strange word in a way. We should just be there for our fellow human beings in a helpful and supportive a way.
Again, I am – I’m very worried, as I mentioned earlier, about the fact that climate change is undermining development in countries that are already very disrupted by climate. We don’t feel it so much in resilient countries, rich countries but that won’t be able to continue if it gets a good deal worse as it may.
MARTIN: But you also understand what it means to be the leader of a nation of people and to have to look out for the interests of in your case the Irish and to look, have a hard look at what your financial capability is, how much you can devote to foreign aid to helping those very people who are suffering those climate-related disasters and figuring out how to provide jobs for people who are unemployed in Ireland.
ROBINSON: Yes. That’s very true. I did have my priorities. I did have a consciousness. My country couldn’t do the impossible and shouldn’t be asked to. But, actually, again, if I may, you know, given my focus on human rights and tackling injustice, including the injustice of climate change and its impacts. But I have never had to be the head of state of a country that knows that the country itself will go out of existence if we go above 1.5 degrees Celsius. I never had to do that.
We need to do things that are very serious, and we have no time to waste. I’m very conscious of this because I’m a happy Irish grandmother. So I’ve asked myself as a grandmother what are we doing to make sure that there will be a secure world where people can live in peace and harmony? We should all be asking that question.
MARTIN: Mary Robinson served as president of Ireland and as high commissioner for human rights at the United Nations. She now leads the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice. Thank you so much for your time.
ROBINSON: OK. Thank you very much.

Press link for more: NPR.ORG

Deadly Threat to Coral #climatechange #auspol

Climate change remains the biggest threat to coral reefs around the world, with rising sea surface temperatures driving widespread bleaching events, according to the Climate Council’s latest report.
The report ‘Climate Change: A Deadly Threat to Coral Reefs’, shows worsening bleaching events are also placing tourism and global economies at risk, with the loss of coral reefs potentially costing an astounding $1 trillion.

KEY FINDINGS
1. The Great Barrier Reef is experiencing severe bleaching in 2017, following the worst bleaching event on record in 2016.

Last year the Great Barrier Reef experienced its worst bleaching event ever. The pristine reefs in the north (Port Douglas to Papua New Guinea) were the most badly affected, with mortality of two-thirds of coral in this region.

While the El Niño has waned, bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef has continued, fueled by climate change.

Severe bleaching has already been observed in offshore reefs from north of Ingham to near Cairns. In 2017 more bleaching is being observed in the central section of the GBR, which was spared last year.

Reefs bleached in both 2016 and 2017 have had no opportunity to recover and so high mortality rates can be expected.


2. Climate change is threatening our reefs and putting their future health at extreme risk.
Rising sea surface temperatures, driven by climate change, are increasing the frequency and severity of mass coral bleaching events and reducing the opportunities for corals to recover.

The longest global coral bleaching event on record, ongoing since 2014, has led to widespread bleaching and mortality of reefs as pools of unusually warm water move around the globe. 

It was virtually impossible for the extreme ocean temperatures that led to coral bleaching along the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 to have occurred without climate change.

3. Coral reefs are a huge economic asset, providing jobs and incomes to local communities.

Loss of coral reefs potentially puts an astounding $1 trillion at risk globally.

The World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is a national economic asset worth $7 billion annually, supporting the livelihoods of 69,000 Australians employed in sectors such as tourism.

If severe bleaching continues, regions adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef risk losing more than 1 million visitors annually – equivalent to at least $1 billion in tourism spending and 10,000 jobs.

Over the next two to three decades, bleaching events are likely to become even more frequent and severe in Australia, with catastrophic impacts on reef health and the economy.


4. We must rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions now to protect our reefs.

While carbon emissions flat-lined last year in China and declined in the United States and elsewhere, Australia’s net emissions continue to rise, increasing by 0.8% in 2016.

Over the next two to three decades, bleaching events are likely to become even more frequent and severe in Australia, with catastrophic impacts on reef health and the economy.

In the long term, protecting our coral reefs requires the rapid phasing out of fossil fuels globally, and the uptake of cheap, clean and efficient renewable energy and energy storage technologies. Australia must play its part.

The commissioning of new coal mines such as that planned for the Galilee Basin, and the pursuit of polluting and expensive “clean coal” projects and new gas plants, is completely at odds with protecting the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs globally.

Press link for full report: Climate Council