Haiku

467 ways to die on a warming globe | Clive Hamilton #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateChange is killing us! #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #Insiders #TheDrum #COP24 #TakeYouSeat #G20

BY Clive Hamilton

A new study published in Nature has found evidence for 467 ways in which climate hazards due to global warming are making life on the planet harder for humans.

It confirms that we are witnessing a shift in the functioning of the Earth system as a whole, a shift to a new state that is unsympathetic to the continued flourishing of human life.

A changing climate is only one feature of a warming globe.

Human activity has bounced the Earth into a state that has no equivalent in its 4.5 billion year history.

The Earth’s new trajectory as it spins into the future has led scientists to tell us we have entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.

We have crossed a threshold and the geological clock cannot be turned back. The disruption we have caused is increasingly unpredictable and uncontrollable, and it has no endpoint.

There are, therefore, two questions humankind must face.

What must we do to prevent serial disasters becoming existential catastrophe? And how can we make our social and economic systems flexible enough to cope with the new dispensation?

There are several reasons an international agreement has proven so hard.

The leading one is sabotage by climate science deniers.

Can it be countered?

Climate science denial was invented and propagated mainly in the United States by the fossil fuel industry in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Activists know how to thwart an industry lobbying campaign. But then something calamitous happened – rejecting climate science became caught up in the culture war.

The Tea Party and Fox News were largely responsible for the shift.

Before then, even a conservative like Sarah Palin accepted the science and called for action. But after 2009, rejecting climate science became a badge of political identity for conservatives.

From that point onwards, facts no longer mattered.

So the challenge is no longer how to use information to change people’s minds. The challenge is how to change a culture. No one knows how to do that.

Just Trump?

Last week Donald Trump, who calls climate science a hoax, visited a California devastated by wildfires. When asked whether his visit would change his mind about climate change he said “No”. What else could he say? The journalist was asking him if he would change who he was.

Yet it’s too easy to blame the world’s slowness to act on crazy American deniers. Because, in a way, we are all climate science deniers.

The full truth of what humans have done is almost impossible to take in.

To fully embrace the message of the climate scientists means giving up the deepest presupposition of modernity – the idea of progress.

Relinquishing our belief in progress means we must let go of the future, because we have been taught from infancy that the future is progress.

In our minds, replacing the old future defined by progress with a new future defined by endless struggle requires a period of grieving. Not many people have the stomach for that.

While most people in most countries accept the truth of climate science, they don’t accept its implications. What can be done to change that?

Changing minds

When it comes to communicating the science’s message to the public, there is no magic potion to be found. A lot has been tried and some of it works reasonably well, up to a point. The scientists must keep doing their research and putting it out. Accusing them of alarmism is a calculated political slander; in truth, they have consistently been too cautious in their warnings, especially in IPCC reports.

Yet the meaning of their reports has not sunk in. It’s clear that an Earth warmer by four degrees – and after the unwinding of the 2015 Paris agreement that is the path we have returned to – will impose enormous stresses on all societies.

In poorer countries, it will lead to mass migrations, many deaths and violent conflict. The effects in wealthy countries will depend on who holds power and how they govern. Disasters, food shortages and waves of immigration will magnify resentment against the rich, who will be attempting to insulate themselves from the turmoil around them.

But they too depend on the infrastructure of urban life – electricity and water supply, sewerage and waste disposal, transport systems for food and so on. And they can’t insulate themselves from social upheaval.

Some communities will learn to adapt more effectively. Smaller, cooperative communities will be best placed to adapt themselves to endure the troubles.

But however humans live or die on the new Earth we have made, we are approaching the endpoint of modernity and must accept that it is finally true that man is the environment of man.

 Clive Hamilton is professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra and author of Defiant Earth: The fate of humans in the Anthropocene

Press link for more: The Guardian

Game-Changing Promise of a #GreenNewDeal #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChange #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #TheDrum #StopAdani

By Naomi Klein

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks to activists with the Sunrise Movement protesting in the offices of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in Washington D.C., on Nov. 13, 2018.

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times via Redux

Like so many others, I’ve been energized by the bold moral leadership coming from newly elected members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley in the face of the spiraling climate crisis and the outrageous attacks on unarmed migrants at the border. It has me thinking about the crucial difference between leadership that acts and leadership that talks about acting.

I’ll get to the Green New Deal and why we need to hold tight to that lifeline for all we’re worth. But before that, bear with me for a visit to the grandstanding of climate politics past.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

It was March 2009 and capes were still fluttering in the White House after Barack Obama’s historic hope-and-change electoral victory. Todd Stern, the newly appointed chief climate envoy, told a gathering on Capitol Hill that he and his fellow negotiators needed to embrace their inner superheroes, saving the planet from existential danger in the nick of time.

Climate change, he said, called for some of “that old comic book sensibility of uniting in the face of a common danger threatening the earth. Because that’s what we have here. It’s not a meteor or a space invader, but the damage to our planet, to our community, to our children, and their children will be just as great. There is no time to lose.”

Eight months later, at the fateful United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, all pretense to superheroism from the Obama Administration had been unceremoniously abandoned. Stern stalked the hallways of the convention center like the Grim Reaper, pulling his scythe through every proposal that would have resulted in a transformative agreement. The U.S. insisted on a target that would allow temperatures to rise by 2 degrees Celsius, despite passionate objections from many African and Pacific islander delegates who said the goal amounted to a “genocide” and would lead millions to die on land or in leaky boats. It shot down all attempts to make the deal legally binding, opting for unenforceable voluntary targets instead (as it would in Paris five years later).

Stern categorically rejected the argument that wealthy developed countries owe compensation to poor ones for knowingly pumping earth-warming carbon into the atmosphere, instead using much-needed funds for climate change protection as a bludgeon to force those countries to fall in line.

As I wrote at the time, the Copenhagen deal — cooked up behind closed doors with the most vulnerable countries locked out — amounted to a “grubby pact between the world’s biggest emitters: I’ll pretend that you are doing something about climate change if you pretend that I am too. Deal? Deal.”

Almost exactly nine years later, global emissions continue to rise, alongside average temperatures, with large swathes of the planet buffeted by record-breaking storms and scorched by unprecedented fires. The scientists convened in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have confirmed precisely what African and low-lying island states have long-since warned: that allowing temperatures to rise by 2 degrees is a death sentence, and that only a 1.5-degree target gives us a fighting chance. Indeed, at least eight Pacific islands have already disappeared beneath the rising seas.

Not only have wealthy countries failed to provide meaningful aid to poorer nations to protect themselves from weather extremes and leapfrog to clean tech, but Europe, Australia, and the United States have all responded to the increase in mass migration — intensified if not directly caused by climate stresses — with brutal force, ranging from Italy’s de facto “let them drown” policy to Trump’s increasingly real war on an unarmed caravan from Central America. Let there be no mistake: this barbarism is the way the wealthy world plans to adapt to climate change.

The only thing resembling a cape at the White House these days are all those coats Melania drapes over her shoulders, mysteriously refusing to use the arm holes for their designed purpose. Her husband, meanwhile, is busily embracing his role as a climate supervillain, gleefully approving new fossil fuel projects, shredding the Paris agreement (it’s not legally binding after all, so why not?), and pronouncing that a Thanksgiving cold snap is proof positive that the planet isn’t warming after all.

In short, the metaphorical meteor that Stern evoked in 2009 is not just hurtling closer to our fragile planet — it’s grazing the (burning) treetops.

And yet here’s the truly strange thing: I feel more optimistic about our collective chances of averting climate breakdown than I have in years. For the first time, I see a clear and credible political pathway that could get us to safety, a place in which the worst climate outcomes are avoided and a new social compact is forged that is radically more humane than anything currently on offer.

We are not on that pathway yet — very far from it. But unlike even one month ago, the pathway is clear. It begins with the galloping momentum calling on the Democratic Party to use its majority in the House to create the Select Committee for a Green New Deal, a plan advanced by Ocasio-Cortez and now backed by more than 14 representatives.

The draft text calls for the committee, which would be fully funded and empowered to draft legislation, to spend the next year consulting with a range of experts — from scientists to local lawmakers to labor unions to business leaders — to map out a “detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan” capable of making the U.S. economy “carbon neutral” while promoting “economic and environmental justice and equality.” By January 2020, the plan would be released, and two months later would come draft legislation designed to turn it into a reality.

That early 2020 deadline is important — it means that the contours of the Green New Deal would be complete by the next U.S. election cycle, and any politician wanting to be taken seriously as a progressive champion would need to adopt it as the centerpiece of their platform. If that happened, and the party running on a sweeping Green New Deal retook the White House and the Senate in November 2020, then there would actually be time left on the climate clock to meet the harsh targets laid out in the recent IPCC report, which told us that we have a mere 12 years to cut fossil fuel emissions by a head-spinning 45 percent.

Pulling that off, the report’s summary states in its first sentence, is not possible with singular policies like carbon taxes. Rather, what is needed is “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” By giving the committee a mandate that connects the dots between energy, transportation, housing and construction, as well as health care, living wages, a jobs guarantee, and the urgent imperative to battle racial and gender injustice, the Green New Deal plan would be mapping precisely that kind of far-reaching change. This is not a piecemeal approach that trains a water gun on a blazing fire, but a comprehensive and holistic plan to actually put the fire out.

If the world’s largest economy looked poised to show that kind of visionary leadership, other major emitters — like the European Union, China, and India — would almost certainly find themselves under intense pressure from their own populations to follow suit.

Now, nothing about the pathway I have just outlined is certain or even likely: The Democratic Party establishment under Nancy Pelosi will probably squash the Green New Deal proposal, much as the party stomped on hopes for more ambitious climate deals under Obama. Smart money would bet on the party doing little more than resuscitating the climate committee that helped produce cap-and-trade legislation in Obama’s first term, an ill-fated and convoluted market-based scheme that would have treated greenhouse gases as late-capitalist abstractions to be traded, bundled, and speculated upon like currency or subprime debt (which is why Ocasio-Cortez is insisting that lawmakers who take fossil fuel money should not be on the Green New Deal select committee).

And of course, even if pressure on lawmakers continues to mount and those calling for the select committee carry the day, there is no guarantee that the party will win back the Senate and White House in 2020.

And yet, despite all of these caveats, we now have a something that has been sorely missing: a concrete plan on the table, complete with a science-based timeline, that is not only coming from social movements on the outside of government, but which also has a sizable (and growing) bloc of committed champions inside the House of Representatives.

Decades from now, if we are exquisitely lucky enough to tell a thrilling story about how humanity came together in the nick of time to intercept the metaphorical meteor, the pivotal chapter will not be the highly produced cinematic moment when Barack Obama won the Democratic primary and told an adoring throng of supporters that this would be “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” No, it will be the far less scripted and markedly more scrappy moment when a group of fed-up young people from the Sunrise Movement occupied the offices of Pelosi after the midterm elections, calling on her to get behind the plan for a Green New Deal — with Ocasio-Cortez dropping by the sit-in to cheer them on.

Sunrise Movement activists outside Nancy Pelosi’s office in Washington D.C. on Nov. 13, 2018.

Photo: Briahna Gray/The Intercept

I realize that it may seem unreasonably optimistic to invest so much in a House committee, but it is not the committee itself that is my main source of hope. It is the vast infrastructure of scientific, technical, political, and movement expertise poised to spring into action should we take the first few steps down this path. It is a network of extraordinary groups and individuals who have held fast to their climate focus and commitments even when no media wanted to cover the crisis and no major political party wanted to do anything more than perform concern.

It’s a network that has been waiting a very long time for there to finally be a critical mass of politicians in power who understand not only the existential urgency of the climate crisis, but also the once-in-a-century opportunity it represents, as the draft resolution states, “to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation.”

The ground for this moment has been prepared for decades, with models for community-owned and community-controlled renewable energy; with justice-based transitions that make sure no worker is left behind; with a deepening analysis of the intersections between systemic racism, armed conflict, and climate disruption; with improved green tech and breakthroughs in clean public transit; with the thriving fossil fuel divestment movement; with model legislation driven by the climate justice movement that shows how carbon taxes can fight racial and gender exclusion; and much more.

What has been missing is only the top-level political power to roll out the best of these models all at once, with the focus and velocity that both science and justice demand. That is the great promise of a comprehensive Green New Deal in the largest economy on earth. And as the Sunrise Movement turns up the heat on legislators who have yet to sign onto the plan, it deserves all of our support.

Of course there is no shortage of Beltway pundits ready to dismiss all of this as hopelessly naive and unrealistic, the work of political neophytes who don’t understand the art of the possible or the finer points of policy. What those pundits are failing to account for is the fact that, unlike previous attempts to introduce climate legislation, the Green New Deal has the capacity to mobilize a truly intersectional mass movement behind it — not despite its sweeping ambition, but precisely because of it.

This is the game-changer of having representatives in Congress rooted in working-class struggles for living-wage jobs and for nontoxic air and water — women like Tlaib, who helped fight a successful battle against Koch Industries’ noxious petroleum coke mountain in Detroit.

If you are part of the economy’s winning class and funded by even bigger winners, as so many politicians are, then your attempts to craft climate legislation will likely be guided by the idea that change should be as minimal and unchallenging to the status quo as possible.

After all, the status quo is working just fine for you and your donors.

Leaders who are rooted in communities that are being egregiously failed by the current system, on the other hand, are liberated to take a very different approach. Their climate policies can embrace deep and systemic change — including the need for massive investments in public transit, affordable housing, and health care — because that kind of change is precisely what their bases need to thrive.

As climate justice organizations have been arguing for many years now, when the people with the most to gain lead the movement, they fight to win.

Press link for more: The Intercept

A zero-carbon economy is both feasible and affordable #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #ClimateEmergency we must act now #TheDrum

The issue is whether governments, industry and consumers are willing to do what is required

By Adair Turner

Jonathan Adair Turner, Baron Turner of Ecchinswell (born 5 October 1955) is a British businessman and academic and was Chairman of the Financial Services Authority until its abolition in March 2013.

He is a former Chairman of the Pensions Commission and the Committee on Climate Change, as well as a former Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry. He has described himself in a BBC HARDtalk interview with Stephen Sackuras a ‘technocrat‘.

A solar farm. Achieving net zero emissions requires boosting the role of electricity

Fossil fuels have driven rising prosperity for more than 200 years and today provide 80 per cent of human energy needs. But carbon dioxide emissions from their use threaten potentially catastrophic climate change.

To avoid that we must achieve net zero emissions across the whole world by around 2060. 

That may seem daunting. But it would be undoubtedly technically possible at very small economic cost, as a report from the Energy Transitions Commission makes clear. The issue is not feasibility, but whether governments, industry and consumers are willing to take the actions required to get there. 

Achieving net zero emissions requires boosting the role of electricity.

The commission, which I chair, estimates its share of energy demand must grow from 20 per cent today to more than 60 per cent by mid-century.

Total generation would have to rise from 20,000 terawatt hours to up to 100,000 twh. 

Nuclear power could play some role but most of this power must and can come from renewable sources, including wind, solar and water.

Less than 1.5 per cent of the global land surface area could produce all the renewable electricity the world needs: and it is physically possible to run grids that rely on intermittent renewables for 85 to 90 per cent of their power, while still delivering electricity whenever needed.

The real challenge is to get to this endpoint fast enough: that requires us to quintuple our annual investment in renewables capacity for the next 40 years. 

Three other technologies are also essential.

First there must be a major role for hydrogen power: steel producers could potentially use it rather than coking coal as the reduction agent, and ammonia (produced from hydrogen) could be used as fuel for ships.

Hydrogen can result in zero-carbon emissions if produced via electrolysis using zero-carbon electricity. 

Second, we must tap bioenergy to provide zero-carbon aviation fuel and as a feedstock for plastics production. But this step must be carefully managed to avoid harmful impacts on ecosystems and food production.

Third a relatively small but still vital role for technologies that capture CO2, particularly in cement production. 

Some aspects of a zero-carbon economy will make consumers better off.

Within 10 years, electric cars will not only be cheaper to operate than diesel or petrol, but also cheaper to buy.

In heavy industry and transport, where it is harder to reduce CO2 emissions, some additional costs are unavoidable but often the consumer impact will be trivial: making cars from zero-carbon steel would add no more than 1 per cent to a typical car price. But in some specific sectors, material price increases may be unavoidable: if bio-based aviation fuel costs 50-100 per cent more to produce than conventional jet fuel, that would add up to 20 per cent to ticket prices.

Overall, the commission estimates that achieving zero emissions in heavy industry and transport by 2060 would make the global economy at most 0.5 per cent smaller than it would otherwise have been.

That figure could be reduced to less than 0.3 per cent if we increased the recycling and reuse of industrial materials.

That means that there are no unmanageable technological, resource or even cost barriers to impede our path to a zero-carbon economy. Still, without strong government intervention policies we will fail to achieve it. 

Charging for carbon emissions is essential but must be designed to avoid unfair competition. Making steel zero carbon may add only trivially to car prices, but any steel producer facing a carbon price that adds $100 to the costs of producing a tonne of steel, would be severely disadvantaged if competitors in other countries did not have to pay similar taxes. 

Ideally, we would strike international agreements, but we should not rule out imposing carbon-related tariffs on imports from non-co-operating countries. We should also consider unilateral domestic carbon prices in sectors such as cement, where international trade is limited. In some sectors, regulation may be more effective. Green fuel mandates requiring airlines to use a steadily rising percentage of zero-carbon bio or synthetic jet fuel would provide powerful incentives for innovation and large-scale production. Tight rules on the dismantling and disposal of discarded products will be essential to drive recycling.

Reaching agreement on many of these policies will of course be difficult. But it should at least be easier if we start with certainty that a zero-carbon economy is both technically feasible and affordable. 

The writer, a former head of the UK Financial Services Authority, chairs the Energy Transitions Commission

Press link for more: Financial Times

Why aren’t they doing anything?: Students strike to give climate lesson #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange Demand #ClimateAction

This Friday, November 30, thousands of Australian students will go on strike, demanding their politicians start taking serious action on climate change.

The movement, School Strike 4 Climate Action, has been inspired by a 15-year-old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, who started boycotting classes before parliamentary elections in her nation on September 9, and continues to skip school every Friday. She also has a particular message for Australia.

Students in each state capital and across 20 regional Australian centres will walk out of their classrooms this week to tell politicians that more of the same climate inaction is not good enough.

Here are some of the lessons they hope to teach.

‘If we really want a better planet Earth’

Lucie Atkin-Bolton, an 11-year-old student and school captain at Forest Lodge Public School, wants an end to ‘coal-sourced energy’, and is willing to go on strike for it.

Photo: Christopher Pearce

Lucie Atkin-Bolton, 11, who will soon graduate as school captain at Sydney’s Forest Lodge Public School, says Australia should be sourcing 100 per cent of its electricity from solar power: “I can’t understand why it hasn’t been done yet.”

“Right now the political leaders aren’t doing very much at all,” Lucie says. “They’re more promoting coal-sourced energy when, if we really want to have a better planet Earth, we need renewable energy.”

Climate change “is a crisis”, she says. “It’s not going to happen in two or three decades – it’s happening now.”

Lucie says “whole islands will disappear” as warming lifts sea levels, and the time for thinking is running out.

“We can’t just talk about it, we have to act,” she says. “We have to make a change.”

While Lucie hopes to attend the main strike event at NSW Parliament, school principal Stephen Reed has been supportive, she says. Students remaining behind are expected to be involved in school-wide activities.

‘Fear’ is a motivator

Vivienne Paduch, a 14-year-old student from Manly Selective school, says ‘striking for climate action is more important than missing a day of school’.

Photo: Christopher Pearce

Vivienne Paduch isn’t waiting for Friday’s gathering – where the Manly Selective school student will also be a speaker  – to get active. This Sunday, she’ll be busy at a “Crafternoon”, creating banners and honing her speech.

The 14-year-old says Australia needs to cut its carbon footprint “dramatically” and soon. The run of “crazy, extreme weather events” – from the NSW drought to destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and recent unusual fires within the Arctic Circle – are part of her motivation.

“Firstly it’s fear,” Vivienne says. “I’m really scared for me and for my generation and the generations that are going to come after me from the implications of what climate change will mean.

“It’s only going to get worse if we don’t take action now.

“Striking for climate action is more important [to me] than missing a day of school.

“With all the support we’ve got this year, I can see it happening again next year,” Vivienne says. “It’s very important to keep pressure on the politicians.”

‘Young people have to step up’

Aisheeya Huq, a 16-year-old student from Auburn Girls High School, says young people ‘are going to have to face the consequences’ of climate change long after the current political leaders are gone.

Photo: Christopher Pearce

For Aisheeya Huq, a year 10 student at Auburn Girls High School, the School Strike is a natural extension of her volunteer work for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

The 16-year-old says her generation can’t ignore climate change and environmental destruction and the justice issues that flow from them.

“We’re going to have to face the consequences [from the work of] a lot of the policymakers and politicians … due to their lack of understanding and perhaps care for the future,” Aisheeya says.

“Young people have realised that because we are going to be affected, we have to step up, and we have to do something about it.”

Politicians talk about the importance of education and shouldn’t be surprised when students join the climate dots. “If you care so much about our education and what you’re teaching us, why aren’t you doing anything about it?” she says.

‘Massive emergency’

Callum Neilson-Bridgefoot (left) and Tully Boyle, Castlemaine students who helped set off an Australian campaign.

Photo: Eddie Jim

Students from Castlemaine, a town in the Victorian goldfields north-west of Melbourne, were the originators of the School Strike movement in Australia after reading about Greta Thunberg and also the special Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1.5 degree report.

Tully Boyle, a 15-year-old at Castlemaine Secondary College, has already taken part in several school boycotts, and this week took a train into Melbourne with other students to deliver demands to politicians.

“It’s a massive emergency,” Tully says. “We want all governments to take it seriously.”

She says heatwaves, flooding and worsening bushfires are a portent of much worse to come if temperature rises reach 4-5 degrees – the course they are now on.

Tully would like to see support for renewable energy and greater promotion of electric vehicles given priority.

“Climate change matters more for us,” she says. “We need to fight for our future.”

Students from Castlemaine in central Victoria journeyed down to Melbourne this week to press the issue for urgent climate action from our political leaders.
Photo: Eddie Jim

Callum Neilson-Bridgefoot, an 11-year-old student at Castlemaine Primary School, has also taken part in four strike activities already.

“Sacrificing a little bit of my education will help in the long term,” Callum said. “I work really hard when I’m at school.

“Any political leader can really make a difference – they have much more power than we do,” he says. “Right now what they are doing is not enough.”

Greta’s actions were a key inspiration. “I was really moved,” Callum says. “It was really brave and very powerful.”

‘It was so easy’

Greta Thunberg, the 15-year-old Swedish student whose ‘school strike’ has drawn international attention and many followers.

Greta Thunberg has seen her Friday vigils for action on climate change copied in many parts of the world, including Finland, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Canada and Britain. “And Australia of course!” she says.

“The thing I think surprised me the most was that it was so easy,” she tells Fairfax Media, via email.

“I remember thinking before I started ‘why has no one ever done this before?'”

The solution, she says, is to keep climate change in front of the public’s attention.

“All we need to do is treat it like a crisis with headlines and news reporting all the time. And I mean A L L the time,” she writes. “As if there was a war going on.”

Greta wants her Australian acolytes to know she is aware of their actions: “I would tell them that they are making a huge difference. I read about them in newspapers up here in Europe and it’s hopeful beyond my imagination.

“And Australia is a huge climate villain, I am sorry to say. Your carbon footprint is way bigger than Sweden and we are among the worst in the world.”

Greta says leading by example is important, as is “saying the things that are too uncomfortable to say”.

“We may not like that we have to change some of our habits, like flying or eating meat and dairy. But we do have to. Because our carbon budget has been spent and there is nothing left for future generations or the ecosystems we rely on,” she says.

Press link for more: SMH

#ClimateChange Puts Economy & Lives at Risk! #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #StopChinaStone join the #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike demand #ClimateAction #TheDrum #Insiders #QandA

By BOB BERWYN, INSIDECLIMATE NEWS

The National Climate Assessment warns of increasing extreme rainfall events, like the storm that flooded communities across a large swath of Louisiana in 2016. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. government’s climate scientists issued a blunt warning on Friday, writing that global warming is a growing threat to human life, property and ecosystems across the country, and that the economic damage—from worsening heat waves, extreme weather, sea level rise, droughts and wildfires—will spiral in the coming decades.

The country can reduce those costs if the U.S. and the rest of the world cut their greenhouse gas emissions, particularly the burning of fossil fuels. Capping global greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6°F) or less would avoid hundreds of billions of dollars of future damages, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, written by a science panel representing 13 federal agencies.

The report, like a recent comprehensive assessment issued by the United Nations, signaled the mounting urgency for governments to act quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before locking in high risks. And it underscored, without saying so directly, how the Trump administration is moving in the opposite direction.

The agencies write that global warming is:

  • Intensifying and increasing the frequency of extreme rainstorms that cause devastating flooding and crop losses.

  • Putting people and economies at risk as temperatures rise: Increases in extreme heat waves could kill up to 2,000 more people per year in the Midwest alone by 2090, and Chicago’s climate could be more like Phoenix, with temperatures reaching 100°F on 50 to 60 days in summer.

  • Increasing the drying of land and vegetation, which puts crops at risk and contributes to deadly wildfires.

  • Harming U.S. forests, making them more vulnerable to fire and insects, disrupting their watersheds and wildlife habitat, and also reducing their ability to store carbon.

  • Putting water supplies and water quality at risk, with “significant changes already evident across the country,” including more pollution runoff from extreme rainfall that, along with warmer water, fuels and toxic algae blooms.

  • Creating multiple threats for coastal communities, including significant shifts in fish populations, ocean acidification, direct flooding damage from rising sea level and tropical storms. Along the coasts, $1 trillion in public infrastructure and private property are threatened by flooding, rising sea level and storm surges.

  • Threatening indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and economies by affecting fishing, agriculture and forestry.

The report looks at the damage already happening and what’s ahead in each region, describing damage from wildfires and the impact of ocean acidification on shellfish in the Northwest; rising temperatures thawing permafrost in Alaska; coral reef damage in Hawaii; hurricanes, coastal flooding and mosquito-borne diseases in the Southeast; extreme rainfall destroying crops and eroding farm soil in the Midwest; flash droughts in the Northern Plains; and the dwindling of the snowpack and the Colorado River that the Southwest relies on.

U.S. temperatures have already risen about 1.8°F (1°C) since the start of the Industrial era, and that warming has been accelerating in recent decades. “Recent record-setting hot years are projected to become common in the near future for the United States,” the report says.

“It drives home the fact that climate change isn’t a far off threat,” said Pennsylvania State University Climate researcher Michael Mann.

The report also shows how global warming impacts will be multiplied by disruptions to energy, transportation and other infrastructure that cascade across economic sectors, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist David Easterling, a lead author for the climate science section.

For example, heat waves and droughts can cut energy production if there is not enough water to cool power plants, which can limit manufacturing and even affect health care in hospitals. Hurricane Harvey’s damage to power infrastructure affected water treatment plants and refineries, shutting down 11 percent of U.S. oil refining capacities and causing a temporary spike in gas prices.

Industries that rely on natural resources are especially vulnerable.

“Without significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, extinctions and transformative impacts on some ecosystems cannot be avoided, with varying impacts on the economic, recreational, and subsistence activities they support,” Easterling said.

Huge Economic Costs, and They’re Rising

With detailed projections for geographic regions, scientists can now also project the multibillion-dollar costs of global warming impacts based on robust data, said Philip Mote, a climate researcher at the University of Washington who worked on the report.

“We’re finally seeing a lot more economic data. In the past, we could talk about, well this is going to happen, there will be lower streamflow(s), there will be more invasive species, this might happen, that might happen,” he said. Now, more economic studies show the rising costs. In the worst-case, high-emissions scenario, global warming costs could total 10 percent of U.S. GDP by the end of the century, according to the report.

How much those costs can be reduced will depend on how fast emissions of both carbon dioxide and short-lived climate pollutants like methane and HFCs are reduced and land-based carbon storage is ramped up.

“Decisions that decrease or increase emissions over the next few decades will set into motion the degree of impacts that will likely last throughout the rest of this century, with some impacts (such as sea level rise) lasting for thousands of years or even longer,” the report says. “Early mitigation can reduce climate impacts in the nearer term (such as reducing the loss of perennial sea ice and effects on ice-dwelling species) and, in the longer term, prevent critical thresholds from being crossed (such as marine ice sheet instability and the resulting consequences for global sea level change).”

The release of the report suggests federal science has fared better then expected in the past two years, “due in part to some degree of bipartisan resolve that still remains when it comes to governmental support for science,” Mann said. 

But that doesn’t offset the harm caused by the dismantling of environmental protections and green-lighting of climate-unfriendly energy policies at the Departments of Energy and Interior and elsewhere, he said.

The severe damage caused by recent record floods from Hurricanes Harvey and Florence, as well as the catastrophic California wildfires, also suggest that “models aren’t completely capturing the physics relevant to understanding and projecting these unprecedented weather extremes,” Mann said.

Atmospheric scientist Kevin Trenberth, with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, also said that climate impact assessments in general tend to under-emphasize the effect of global warming on climate extremes.

“A lot more is attributable than is generally accepted,” Trenberth said, citing recent research he worked on showing links between deep ocean heat content and the damaging floods from Hurricane Harvey. In the Pacific, global warming is likely to intensify El Niños, with “bigger and with stronger droughts and floods around the world.”

And the U.S. is still behind the curve when it comes to responding to the growing threat.

Up to now, “neither global efforts to mitigate the causes of climate change nor regional efforts to adapt to the impacts currently approach the scales needed to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades,” the report concludes.

Farms and Food System at Higher Risk

The report stressed that American farmers and ranchers are already feeling the effects of climate change, and that those effects will worsen dramatically, with more extreme rainfall, flooding and drought.  

“The farm and food system as we know it is transforming before our eyes, and the productivity we’ve benefited from is in jeopardy,” explained Marcia DeLonge, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “We’re going to lose commodity cropsdue to different growing seasons, droughts, floods, and the costs to farmers and ranchers—and taxpayers—will be huge. And we’re likely underestimating them.”

Climate change will hit the Corn Belt particularly hard. Under a high-emissions scenario, the Midwest will see greater increases in warm-season temperatures than anywhere else in the country, with the frost-free season projected to increase by an average of 10 days from 2016 to 2045. 

A rise in temperatures in the Midwest is “projected to be the largest contributing factor to declines in the productivity of U.S. agriculture,” the report says. Agricultural productivity could drop to 1980s levels by 2050, the report said, essentially wiping out gains made in recent decades from improved technologies.

Millions of People Become More Vulnerable

World Resources Institute scientist Andrew Light, an author of the mitigation chapter, said it’s clear the report is at odds with the administration’s policy and with what President Trump says about climate change.

But that doesn’t change the fact that millions of people are becoming more vulnerable to global warming impacts.

“We need to be reaching a point in this country where we are arguing about the best solutions, not over whether a problem exists. This report creates very clear terrain around which one could have this discussion,” Light said.

He said some of the regional findings make it clear what’s at stake for people. In New England, under a high emissions scenario, the distinctive seasons of New England could disappear, altering the region’s fundamental character.

“It’s hard to imagine there won’t be distinct seasons. That indelibly changes the place,” he said.

And in his native state of Georgia, the report identifies a growing risk of wildfires.

“That’s incredibly distressing. It’s not part of our annual cycle, we don’t have a forest fire season in the Southeast, so it’s horrible to imagine those kinds of impacts if you think about what we’re seeing in California right now.”

The 2016 wildfire that burned through Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a prime example of how communities can be caught unaware of the risks.

“The people were not ready at all, and the changes that create this type of risk could happen quickly,” Light said.

Was Trump Trying to Bury the Warnings?

The report is based on thousands of climate studies and is written by the U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program, which includes scientists and policy experts from 13 federal agencies. A 1990 law created the program and mandates regular climate assessments.

The release of the report was originally scheduled for early December, but the date was moved up to the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, sometime during the past week, leading to concerns that the Trump administration meant to bury the report by publishing it during a holiday weekend. That drew scorn from some politicians.

“No matter how hard they try, the Trump administration can’t bury the effects of climate change in a Black Friday news dump – effects their own federal government scientists have uncovered,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island. 

“This report shows how climate change will affect every single one of our communities,” he said. “The president says outrageous things like climate change is a hoax engineered by the Chinese and raking forests will prevent catastrophic wildfires, but serious consequences like collapsing coastal housing prices and trillions of dollars in stranded fossil fuel assets await us if we don’t act.”

InsideClimate News reporter Georgina Gustin contributed to this report.

Press link for more: Inside Climate News

Greenhouse Gas Levels Reach New Record.To avoid catastrophic #ClimateChange we need a world 🌎 wide #GreenNewDeal urgently. #auspol #StopAdani #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion

World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, 22 November 2018 – Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another new record high, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

There is no sign of a reversal in this trend, which is driving long-term climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and more extreme weather.

The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin provides a scientific base for decision-making at the UN climate change negotiations, which will be held from 2-14 December in Katowice, Poland.

The key objective of the meeting is to adopt the implementation guidelines of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which aims to hold the global average temperature increase to as close as possible to 1.5°C.

 “The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth. The window of opportunity for action is almost closed,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin showed that globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 405.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2017, up from 403.3 ppm in 2016 and 400.1 ppm in 2015.

Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide also rose, whilst there was a resurgence of a potent greenhouse gas and ozone depleting substance called CFC-11, which is regulated under an international agreement to protect the ozone layer.

Since 1990, there has been a 41% increase in total radiative forcing – the warming effect on the climate – by long-lived greenhouse gases. CO2 accounts for about 82% of the increase in radiative forcing over the past decade, according to figures from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration quoted in the WMO Bulletin.

“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now,” said Mr Taalas.

https://youtu.be/0HtiTyBu1SE

The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations  of greenhouse gases. Emissions represent what goes into the atmosphere. Concentrations represent what remains in the atmosphere after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere and the oceans. About a quarter of the total emissions is absorbed by the oceans and another quarter by the biosphere.

A separate Emissions Gap Report by UN Environment (UNEP), to be released on 27 November, tracks the policy commitments made by countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The WMO and UNEP reports come on top of the scientific evidence provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. This said that net emissions of CO2 must reach zero (the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere must equal the amount that is removed by sinks, natural and technological) around 2050 in order to keep temperature increases to below 1.5°C. It showed how keeping temperature increases below 2°C would reduce the risks to human well-being, ecosystems and sustainable development.

“CO2 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years and in the oceans for even longer. There is currently no magic wand to remove all the excess CO2 from the atmosphere,” said WMO Deputy Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova.

“Every fraction of a degree of global warming matters, and so does every part per million of greenhouse gases,” she said.

“The new IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C shows that deep and rapid reductions of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will be needed in all sectors of society and the economy. The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, showing a continuing rising trend in concentrations of greenhouse gases, underlines just how urgent these emissions reductions are,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee.

Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System

The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin is based on observations from the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme, which tracks the changing levels of greenhouse gases as a result of industrialization, energy use from fossil fuel sources, intensified agricultural practices, increases in land use and deforestation. Globally averages presented in the Bulletin are representative for the global atmosphere.

The urgency of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions requires more tools at national and sub-national level to support stakeholders in taking effective and efficient actions.

Recognizing this need, WMO has initiated the development of observational based tools that can guide the emissions reduction actions and confirm their results, for instance in the oil and gas sector.

A new Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas Information System (IG3IS) provides the framework for the development and standardization of the observational based tools. IG3IS is implemented by countries on a voluntary basis and will feed into the national emission reporting mechanism to the UN Framework on Climate Change and the annual Conference of the Parties.

Key Findings of the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin

Carbon dioxide 

Carbon dioxide is the main long-lived greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Concentrations reached 405.5 ppm in 2017, 146% of the pre-industrial era (before 1750). The increase in CO2 from 2016 to 2017 was about the same as the average growth rate over the last decade. It was smaller than the record leap observed from 2015 to 2016 under the influence of a strong El Niño event, which triggered droughts in tropical regions and reduced the capacity of “sinks” like forests and vegetation to absorb CO2.  There was no El Niño in 2017.

Methane

Methane (CH4) is the second most important long-lived greenhouse gas and contributes about 17% of radiative forcing. Approximately 40% of methane is emitted into the atmosphere by natural sources (e.g., wetlands and termites), and about 60% comes from human activities like cattle breeding, rice agriculture, fossil fuel exploitation, landfills and biomass burning.

Atmospheric methane reached a new high of about 1859 parts per billion (ppb) in 2017 and is now 257% of the pre-industrial level. Its rate of increase was about equal that observed over the past decade.

Nitrous Oxide 

Nitrous oxide is emitted into the atmosphere from both natural (about 60%) and anthropogenic sources (approximately 40%), including oceans, soil, biomass burning, fertilizer use, and various industrial processes.

Its atmospheric concentration in 2017 was 329.9 parts per billion. This is 122% of pre-industrial levels. It also plays an important role in the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer which protects us from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. It accounts for about 6% of radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases.

CFC-11

The Bulletin has a special section devoted to CFC-11 (trichlorofluoromethane). This is a potent greenhouse gas and a stratospheric ozone depleting substance regulated under the Montreal Protocol. Since 2012 its rate of decline has slowed to roughly two thirds of its rate of decline during the preceding decade. The most likely cause of this slowing is increased emissions associated with production of CFC-11 in eastern Asia.

This discovery illustrates the importance of long-term measurements of atmospheric composition, such as are carried out by the Global Atmosphere Watch Programme, in providing observation-based information to support national emissions inventories and to support agreements to address anthropogenic climate change, as well as for the recovery of the stratospheric ozone layer.

Press link for more: UNFCCC

What exactly is the ‘Green New Deal’? @QandA #auspol #qldpol Australia needs to join a Global #GreenNewDeal #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike Real innovation for jobs. #StopAdani #ClimateChange

By Hannah Northey

Hannah is an enterprise reporter for E&E News focusing on high-profile stories from across the energy sector.

She has also covered Congress and leadership changes at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with a focus on the policy and politics of oil and gas pipelines and exports.

She was previously a political and regulatory reporter at Argus Media in Washington, D.C., and worked as a reporter for several news outlets in Virginia and Michigan, including The Ann Arbor News, Lansing State Journal and Michigan Public Radio. Hannah recently completed fellowships in Japan and Detroit and has a master’s degree in environmental journalism from Michigan State University’s Knight Center.

In a Democratic clash on Capitol Hill, progressives are pushing an ambitious plan to wean the U.S. off fossil fuels, boost renewables and build a “smart” grid.

Meet the “Green New Deal.”

The proposal, drawing inspiration from President Franklin Roosevelt’s Depression-era New Deal, is one that progressives — led by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a rising star on the left — want Democratic leaders to embrace.

The thinking is that a newly revived Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in the House would produce a draft of the plan by Jan., 1, 2020, and finalized legislation no later than March 1, 2020.

The scope of the plan, laid out on Cortez’s campaign website, is cast as a work in progress. House leaders would be able to review the results of investigations and studies, along with detailed findings and interim recommendations. And there’s time for collaboration.

Pushing the proposal is the youth-driven Sunrise Movement, a growing grassroots movement that’s taken over the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California this week and Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey today.

Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the group, told E&E News earlier this week that progressives are calling on Pelosi to start building consensus around the ideas. That way, Democrats can move quickly if they regain power in 2021 and beyond (Climatewire, Nov. 14).

And yet disagreement is brewing, even among those eager to tackle climate change policy. Also outstanding are specifics on what programs would be included in a Green New Deal and how Congress and the federal government would pay for the plan.

“Democrats are united in decarbonizing our economy and addressing climate change in stark contrast to Republicans. But House leaders have to be strategic in how they approach climate change,” said Paul Bledsoe, an energy fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute who worked on climate change in the Clinton White House. “Impossible-to-reach targets will only disappoint.”

Here’s a look at what the plan calls for — so far — within a decade of being enacted:

100 percent renewables

The plan calls for the United States to shift to all renewable energy within a decade.

Such a move has been at the heart of ongoing debates within the energy sector for years. Experts have clashed on whether such a move is possible and on the definition of “100 percent renewables” (Greenwire, April 20).

Some researchers have suggested that moving to all renewables isn’t the best way to address climbing temperatures (Climatewire, June 20, 2017).

Build a ‘smart’ grid

The plan also calls for the creation of a national, energy-efficient “smart” grid.

Billions of dollars around the world has been invested in clean energy technologies, and grid experts for decades have been innovating ways to link them together, from solar arrays and wind turbines to electric cars.

Upgrade homes and businesses

Boosting efficiency is also on the menu. The plan calls for “upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety.”

That push could directly confront the Trump administration’s decision to leave energy efficiency on the back burner.

Multiple efficiency standards do not have set timelines for release, despite deadlines by Congress, and regulations for portable air conditioners, commercial packaged boilers and uninterruptible power supplies remain among the administration’s long-term goals (Greenwire, Oct. 17).

Decarbonize, decarbonize, decarbonize

Progressives are also calling for deep decarbonization across the nation.

The plan includes language that would reduce emissions from manufacturing, agricultural and other industries, as well as decarbonizing, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure.

The plan would also call for “funding massive investment” in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases, but the proposal hasn’t outlined the specifics of how to do that.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

In addition to boosting clean energy and exports, the plan would also lay out a national jobs program.

Specifically, the plan calls for “training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a national “job guarantee program” to “assure every person who wants one, a living wage job.”

Press link for more: EENews

For more on the Green New Deal

Watch this video

https://youtu.be/fT8gW8o3Sxo

Dozens arrested after climate protest blocks five London bridges #ExtinctionRebellion Day one #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #springst #wapol #sapol #ClimateCrisis #Insiders #TheDrum #StopAdani

Thousands of protesters occupied bridges across the Thames over extinction crisis in huge act of peaceful civil disobedience

Protesters, including families and pensioners, began massing on five of London’s main bridges from 10am on Saturday. An hour later, all the crossings had been blocked in one of the biggest acts of peaceful civil disobedience in the UK in decades.

Some people locked themselves together, while others linked arms and sang songs.

By 2pm the blockade of Southwark Bridge had been abandoned and protesters moved from there to Blackfriars Bridge, where organisers said they were soon to move west towards Westminster Bridge.

Demonstrators occupied Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges.

The Metropolitan police said all the bridges had since reopened and that most of the arrests had been for obstruction under the Highways Act.

Afterwards, demonstrators gathered in Parliament Square to hear speeches. Roger Hallam, one of the strategists behind the actions, told the Guardian he felt the protest had been fantastic.

“This is total prediction stuff, mass participation civil disobedience,” he said. “They can’t do anything about it unless they start shooting people, and presumably they won’t do that.” 

The day was due to end with an interfaith ceremony outside Westminster Abbey.

The move is part of a campaign of mass civil disobedience organised by a new group, Extinction Rebellion, which wants to force governments to treat the threats of climate breakdown and extinction as a crisis.

“The ‘social contract’ has been broken … [and] it is therefore not only our right but our moral duty to bypass the government’s inaction and flagrant dereliction of duty and to rebel to defend life itself,” said Gail Bradbrook, one of the organisers.

Alice, 19, from Bristol was one of those blocking Westminster Bridge.

“I took the coach at 3am to make sure I didn’t miss it,” she said, “and I’m so glad that I did. It’s a tiny personal inconvenience and, having made it, I get to be part of a rebellion.

“This moment will be remembered in the history books, when we finally stopped allowing our leaders to take us over the cliff.”

Jenny Jones, the Green party peer, joined the protest on Westminster Bridge. She backed the nonviolent direct action taken by demonstrators.

“We are at the point where if we don’t start acting and acting fast we are just going to wipe out our life support system,” she said.

“It’s fine to think we are a rich country, the sixth biggest economy in the world, but actually we won’t do any better than anywhere else because climate change will massively affect us too. 

“Basically, conventional politics has failed us – it’s even failed me and I’m part of the system – so people have no other choice.”

Father Martin Newell said on Blackfriars Bridge: “What brought me here is the climate emergency, the extinction emergency and my faith in God who created all this and whose creation we’re destroying and crucifying … I’m called as a Christian to protect our neighbour who’s being abused.”

In the past two weeks more than 60 people have been arrested for taking part in acts of civil disobedience organised by Extinction Rebellion ranging from gluing themselves to government buildings to blocking major roads in the capital.

However, those disruptions were eclipsed on Saturday, when organisers say 6,000 people took part in protests.

“It is not a step we take lightly,” said Tiana Jacout, one of those involved. “If things continue as is, we face an extinction greater than the one that killed the dinosaurs. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be a worthy ancestor.”

Extinction Rebellion, which cites the civil rights movement, suffragettes and Mahatma Gandhi as inspirations, said smaller events took place in other UK cities as well as overseas on Saturday.

Organisers say they are planning to escalate the campaigns from Wednesday, when small teams of activists will “swarm” around central London blocking roads and bridges, bringing widespread disruption to the capital.

“Given the scale of the ecological crisis we are facing this is the appropriate scale of expansion,” said Bradbrook. “Occupying the streets to bring about change as our ancestors have done before us. Only this kind of large-scale economic disruption can rapidly bring the government to the table to discuss our demands. We are prepared to risk it all for our futures.”

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators on Westminster Bridge in London. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA

The group is calling on the government to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and establish a “citizens assembly” to devise an emergency plan of action similar to that seen during the second world war.

On top of the specific demands, organisers say they hope the campaign of “respectful disruption” will change the debate around climate breakdown and signal to those in power that the present course of action will lead to disaster.

The group, which was established only a couple of months ago, has raised around £50k in small-scale donations in the past weeks.

It now has offices in central London and over the past few months has been holding meetings across the country, outlining the scale of the climate crisis and urging people to get involved in direct action this weekend.

“Local groups are setting up across the country and even new groups are seeing around 100 people come to meetings, and we have coaches coming, from Newcastle to Plymouth,” said Rupert Read, a philosophy academic at the University of East Anglia.

The campaign hit the headlines a couple of weeks ago when the former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was one of almost 100 academics to come out in favour of it.

In a letter published in the Guardian they said: “While our academic perspectives and expertise may differ, we are united on this one point: we will not tolerate the failure of this or any other government to take robust and emergency action in respect of the worsening ecological crisis. The science is clear, the facts are incontrovertible, and it is unconscionable to us that our children and grandchildren should have to bear the terrifying brunt of an unprecedented disaster of our own making.”

The civil disobedience comes amid growing evidence of looming climate breakdown and follows warnings from the UN that there are only 12 years left to prevent global ecological disaster.

The group is also making international contacts, with 11 events planned in seven countries so far, including the US, Canada, Germany, Australia and France.

“To properly challenge the system that is sending us to an early grave we have to be bold and ambitious,” said Read. “Forging new connections across the world and learning from each other.”

Press link for more: The Guardian

Join the Climate Revolution stand up for your children & future generations.

For more information watch Rupert Read’s video

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

#ExtinctionRebellion: Academic embracing direct action to stop #climatechange #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #springst #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #TheDrum #QandA Demand #ClimateAction

By Rupert Read

Rupert Read

Read studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Balliol College, Oxford,[2]before undertaking postgraduate studies in the United States at Princeton University and Rutgers University (where he gained his doctorate).

Kay Michael/Flickr., Author provided

Not heard of the “Extinction Rebellion” before?

Then you heard it here first.

Because soon, everyone is going to have heard of it. The Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent direct action movement challenging inaction over dangerous climate change and the mass extinction of species which, ultimately, threatens our own species.

Saturday November 17 2018 is “Rebellion Day” – when people opposed to what they see as a government of “climate criminals” aim to gather together enough protesters to close down parts of the capital – by shutting down fossil-powered road traffic at key pinch-points in London.

I’m a Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia and I have thrown myself headfirst into this movement. Our long-term aim is to create a situation where the government can no longer ignore the determination of an increasingly large number of people to shift the world from what appears to be a direct course towards climate calamity. Who knows, the government could even end up having to negotiate with the rebels.

As someone who is both a veteran of non-violent direct actions over the years and an academic seeking to make sense of these campaigns, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about what’s old and what’s new about the Extinction Rebellion. Here are my conclusions so far.

From world peace to climate justice

The Extinction Rebellion is rooted in longstanding traditions exemplified by the radical nuclear disarmament movement. The founders of the Extinction Rebellion have thought carefully about past precedents, and about what works and what doesn’t.

They’ve noted for instance that you don’t necessarily need active involvement from more than a tiny percentage of the population to win radical change, provided that you have a righteous cause that can elicit tacit backing from a much larger percentage.

The Extinction Rebellion is also quite different from its predecessors. True, the disarmament movement was about our very existence, but nuclear devastation was – and still is – only a risk. Extinction Rebellion’s aim is to prevent a devastation of our world that will come  and quite soon, unless we manage to do something unprecedented that will radically change our direction.

Climate activists often compare their struggle to victories from the past. But in my view comparisons which are often made – to Indian independence, the civil rights movement or the campaign for universal suffrage, for example – are over-optimistic, even fatuous. These historical movements were most often about oppressed classes of people rising up and empowering themselves, gaining access to what the privileged already had. 

The Extinction Rebellion challenges oligarchy and neoliberal capitalism for their rank excess and the political class for its deep lack of seriousness. But the changes that will be needed to arrest the collapse of our climate and biodiversity are now so huge that this movement is concerned with changing our whole way of life. Changing our diet significantly. Changing our transport systems drastically. Changing the way our economies work to radically relocalise them. The list goes on.

This runs up against powerful vested interests – but also places considerable demands upon ordinary citizens, especially in “developed” countries such as the UK. It is therefore a much harder ask. This means that the chances of the Extinction Rebellion succeeding are relatively slim. But this doesn’t prove it’s a mistaken enterprise – on the contrary, it looks like our last chance.

Risking arrest is a small sacrifice when life itself is on the line. Andy Rain/EPA

From the lecture hall to the streets

This all leads into why I sat in the road blocking the entrance to Parliament Square on October 31, when the Extinction Rebellion was launched – and why I will be “manning the barricades” again on November 17. As a Quaker, I cherish the opening words of the famous Shaker hymn: Tis the gift to be simple. What does it mean to live simply at this moment in history? It means to do everything necessary so that others – most importantly our children (and their children) – can simply live. It isn’t enough to live a life of voluntary simplicity.

One needs also to take peaceful direct action to seek to stop the mega-machine of growth-obsessed corporate capitalism that is destroying our common future. That’s why it seems plain to me that we need peaceful rebellion now, so that we and countless other species don’t face devastation or indeed extinction. 

The next line of that Shaker hymn goes: “Tis the gift to be free.” In our times, to be free means to not be bound by laws that are consigning our children to purgatory or worse. If one cares properly for one’s children, that must entail caring for their children, too. You don’t really care for your children if you damn their children. And that logic multiplies into the future indefinitely – we aren’t caring adequately for any generation if the generation to follow it is doomed.

As mammals whose primary calling is to care for our kids, it is therefore logical that an outright existential threat to their future, and to that of their children, must be resisted and rebelled against, no matter what the pitifully inadequate laws of our land say.

I’ve felt called upon to engage in conscientious civil disobedience before, at Faslane and Aldermaston against nuclear weapons and with EarthFirst in defence of the redwood forests threatened with destruction in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. 

But the Extinction Rebellion seems to me the most compelling cause of them all. Unless we manage to do the near impossible, then after a period of a few decades at most there won’t be any other causes to engage with. It really now is as stark and as dark as that.

If you too feel the call, then I think you now know what to do.

Press link for more: The Conversation

Watch Rupert Read Lecture Churchill College Cambridge University

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

The most important video you will ever see.

CLIMATE SCIENTISTS: #EXTINCTIONREBELLION NEEDS YOU! #ClimateChange #auspol #StopAdani #ClimateStrikep

By Bill McGuire

OK. Let’s not beat about the bush. While our world has been going to hell in a handcart, many of you studying and recording its demise have had nothing to say on the subject and have remained deep in the shadows, when what has been needed is for you to hog the limelight.

The cod justification you have used is always the same; muttered excuses about the need for objectivity; about how you shouldn’t become involved in politics; about how you are merely faithful recorders of facts; a silo mentality that shields you from having to make difficult decisions or engage with others outside your comfort zones.

You know who you are.

In truth, the reason you have never liked to stick your head above the parapet is for fear of being shot at by your peers. As a fellow scientist I understand that – I really do. There is nothing worse than being ridiculed within your own community. It can, I know, mean loss of prestige, a squeeze on funding, and a closing down of opportunities for advancement. I understand, therefore, why you continue to play down anything that might draw attention; why you lie low; tow the party line. I know, too, what you really think and feel about climate change, because I have talked to many of you in private, and the response – without exception – has been that the true situation is far worse than you are prepared to admit in public. So, behind the facade, I know that you are torn between speaking out and holding back;  that you are as desperate as anyone for the measures to be taken that the science demands; most of all, that you fear for your children’s future in the world of climate chaos they will be forced to inhabit.

So, what to do.

Maybe the just-published IEA (International Energy Agency) World Energy Review 2018 will help to crystallise your thoughts and feelings and help convince you of the path you need to choose now. The report paints a picture of the future energy landscape that will send shivers of horror down the spines of all who give a damn about our world and all life upon it. The forecasts are – without exception – dire. By 2040, an extra 1.7 billion people are predicted to drive up energy demand by a quarter, most of it met from high carbon sources. The proportion of renewables in the energy mix is expected to have crept up to 40 percent, but coal is still forecast to be king of power generation, followed by gas. Instead of heading down fast, emissions in 2040 will be even higher than they are now, says the review, at a staggering 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. To put this in perspective, just last month the IPCC, hardly celebrated – as you well know (you might even have been an author or contributor) – for its doom-mongering, warned that in order to avoid catastrophic, all-pervasive, climate breakdown, emissions need to be slashed by 45 percent within just 12 years, and reach net zero by mid-century. But even this will not be enough.

I don’t need to tell you that the chasm between what’s needed, and what the IEA forecasts will happen, flags the extraordinary scale of the uphill battle we face. If we are not to bequeath to our descendants a desiccated, lifeless hothouse, then we need your help and your support.

Now.

Today.

The time to worry about what your colleagues think of you is long gone.

Prestige will mean nothing in the world to come; academic advancement won’t alter the fate of your children and grandchildren one iota.

So, speak out, tell it like it is. Force those who need to know to listen.

Welcome any flack and hurl it back ten-fold. Come down off the fence and choose the path to rebellion.

Bill McGuire is Professor Emeritus of Geophysical & Climate Hazards at UCL and author of Waking the Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanic Eruptions. He was a contributor to the IPCC 2012 report on Climate Change & Extreme Events and Disasters.

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