Kirabati

Royal Wedding brings audacity, conviction, compassion and relevance to the Crown #auspol #StopAdani #Qldpol

The Royal Wedding: Suits actress brings audacity, conviction, compassion and relevance to the Crown

By C.C. Ford May 21, 2018

When Bishop Michael Curry, the African American head of the American Episcopal Church, went off script at the wedding of Meghan and Harry and launched into a riveting and chaotic monologue about love, he turned a Royal Wedding into the greatest theatrical moment on live TV so far this century.

All those lefty republicans who studiously avoided the television on Saturday night in outrage at the cost, or what it might infer about their politics or progressiveness, missed a stupendous live-action entertainment that rivalled a great sporting finale or interplanetary rocket launch, but with the additional gravitas of profound cultural change.

Initial shock gradually segued into the thrill of being at the mercy of the moment, relevant protocols and schedules hijacked and made irrelevant.

Royalty, with its precise protocol, has always been done best by the Brits. The horses, the carriages, the military, the extraordinary ecclesiastical architecture and music, the choirs and command of the spoken word, the stately vocal rhythms of the English tongue refusing to embellish the exquisite language of literature or the Bible which need no embellishment. British Royal events have always mastered a perfect balance between extravagance and restraint, each advertising the magnificence of the other.

And then along came an African American preacher invoking Martin Luther King, his booming voice riding the rhythmic waves of evangelism and soul, filling the parapets of St Georges Chapel in Windsor with a vocabulary that included fire, slavery and Instagram, and a slow-combustion momentum that harnessed a rousing and charismatic repetition:

“Someone once said that Jesus began most revolutionary movement in all of human history, a movement grounded in the unconditional love of god for the world. And a movement mandating people to live that love. And in so doing, to change not only their lives but the very life of the world itself. I’m talking about some power, real power, power to change the world.”

It was mind-blowing, extraordinary and moving. From a stage-managerial point of view, it was hard to know if the rave was a response to stage-fright or opportunism. Initial shock gradually segued into the thrill of being at the mercy of the moment, relevant protocols and schedules hijacked and made irrelevant, and then into hilarity as the pompous Royals (and sour, ageing court-jester Elton John) tittered, rolled their eyes or sat with expressions of stunned disbelief.

The Bishop was either not concerned by the chill, or was understandably so high on his own vibe that he did not feel it. And his stoicism in the face of his audience – almost entirely dressed in hideous confections of synthetic peach or violet– turned the address into a conquest.

Ms Markle elegantly exploited the architecture of love to make her mark rather than the traditional enraged weapons of ideological change.

He was not giving up, backing off or shying away from the moment, or his role in defining it. His mesmeric use of the word love – “the energy of love”, “the mighty hands of love”, “the dynamic power of love”, came to persuade us that Hallelejuh! – love is indeed “the only way” and this young couple, despite being saddled by love’s nemeses –privilege and celebrity – were indeed its exemplars.

There sat Harry, the red-headed misfit, the little boy who lost his mother, the charmer, the scamp and his fabulous twinkly-eyed biracial lover, a feisty beauty who clearly insisted on making the ceremony (and presumably the marriage) a genuine merging of two souls and their collective cultural history. A gospel choir sang an exquisite Stand By Me and brilliant black musicians shared the soaring acoustical heights of the church.

This was a one-time heretical hit parade finding a thoroughly modern benediction: American, divorced, Black, fearless and non-traditional embraced within the cocoon of British nobility. In having her own heritage so clearly embedded in the service, Ms Markle was elegantly exploiting the architecture of love to make her mark rather than the traditional enraged weapons of ideological change. The self-declared feminist was wearing her white gown and borrowed tiara, curtseying to the monarch, while all around her centuries of racism, tradition and anachronism trembled. How modern and how joyful.

Curry’s flouting of technical etiquette was the moment that history will note as the unlikely rescue of the Windsors from death by irrelevance.

The Queen, unlike the lesser Royals, did not reveal any scepticism with regards Curry’s oration. She is too well-mannered and too wise, wise enough to understand that women like Markle are the future of the survival of the Royals. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Queen understood very well that the silly tag-alongs like Beatrice and Eugenie and Zara Phillips are the irrelevant, pedestrian gate-crashers who somehow lucked out despite no discernible purpose, while the biracial Suits actress and one-time game-show hostess was bringing audacity, conviction, compassion and relevance to the crown.

Curry’s flouting of technical etiquette – his lack of concern regarding time allowances, or mimicking the controlled cadences of the British clergy – were cause enough for surprise and perhaps displeasure (we can only speculate). But the intemperate lyrical poetry of his oration was, more than the kiss on the steps between a white British soldier and prince and a divorced Black American actress, the moment that history will note as the unlikely rescue of the Windsors from death by irrelevance.

Press link for more: Daily Review

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Only 1% of Japan’s biggest coral reef is healthy due to climate change #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Only ‘one per cent’ of Japan’s biggest coral reef is in a healthy condition due to climate change

Danielle Demetriou, Tokyo

The survival of Sekisei Lagoon – Japan’s largest coral reef – is in question  Credit: Alamy/NASA

It has long been famed as a subtropical paradise, with more than 400 different types of coral living beneath crystal clear waters in a far-flung corner of southern Japan.

Today, however, the future of Sekisei Lagoon – Japan’s largest coral reef – is in question after a new government report found that only one per cent of its coral is in a healthy condition due to global warming.

The decline of Sekisei Lagoon, which stretches over an expanse of more than 26 square miles in a remote area of southernmost Okinawa, is attributed to bleaching due to rising water temperatures and coral-eating starfish.

It is a process that has been evolving for decades, with the overall volume of coral in Sekisei Lagoon reportedly dropping by as much as 80 per cent since the late 1980s, after being badly hit by a string of mass bleaching incidents.

Bleaching occurs when unusually warm water causes coral to expel algae, leading to the coral turning completely white.

The ratio of healthy coral had dropped from 14.6 per cent in 1991 to 1.4 per cent in Sekisei Lagoon Credit:  AFP

The full extent of the current situation has come to light in a new government report, which analysed satellite photography and information from around 1,000 regional monitoring sites for the first time in 10 years.

The study found that the ratio of healthy coral had dropped from 14.6 per cent in 1991 to 1.4 per cent in Sekisei Lagoon today, with two other coral reefs surrounding nearby Ishigaki and Iriomote islands suffering from a similar decline.

“If coral reefs don’t recover, it means a loss of rich fauna for a variety of creatures and would have grave impact on the ecosystem in the region,” Chihiro Kondo, a ministry official, said.

Coral reefs are a vital component of marine life, acting as a buffer for coastlines during tropical storms as well as providing habit for countless organisms. Despite accounting for less than one per cent of the planet’s seas, corals are reportedly home to 25 per cent of marine life.

Incidents of bleaching have risen in recent years, triggered by abnormal environmental conditions such as rising sea temperatures causing corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.

Corals can regain their health if the water temperature drops, however, recovery has been slow in Sekisei Lagoon due several mass bleaching incidents, the most recent taking place in 2016.

Press Link for more: Telegraph.co.uk

UN: Progress on Emission Reduction Too Slow #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani #ClimateChange

Global Economy Improving, but Progress on Emission Reductions too Slow – UN | UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 18 May 2018 – A new UN report shows that whilst short-term prospects for the world economy are improving, with the world gross product expected to expand by 3.2 per cent in both 2018 and 2019, a lot more needs to be done to avert a major economic downturn linked to unchecked climate change.

The study by the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs points towards a 1.4 percent increase of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 due to a combination of accelerated economic growth, relatively cheap fossil fuels and weak energy efficiency efforts.

“While recent evidence points to progress in decoupling emissions growth from GDP growth in some developed economies, it is still manifestly insufficient. The rate of global energy efficiency gains has been slowing since 2015, reaching 1.7 percent in 2017—half the rate required to remain on track with the Paris Agreement”, say the authors of the report ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2018.’

Improving energy efficiency and a radical shift to low carbon for the world’s markets is integral to meeting the objectives set forth by the Paris Agreement, which aims to respond to climate change by keeping a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees C.

The authors of the report say that several steps can be taken to notably align the rate of energy efficiency gains with the goals of the Paris Agreement. These include the reform of fossil fuel subsidies and taxes, deploying renewable energy technology, and decreasing the cost of renewable energy generation.

Warnings of Climate Impacts Setting In

Man-made greenhouse gas emissions account for 2016 and 2017 being the two hottest years on record.

Evidence from the report states that a rising global average temperature could translate into a slower growth of per capita output in countries with a high average temperature, most of which are low-income countries.

The sectors of agricultural production, labor productivity, weather dependent industry, capital accumulation and human health are most at risk for disruption from an unpredictable climate.

Warmer climates create shifting rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, and an increased frequency of extreme weather events. Respectively, these events can move the locations of farmlands, endanger Small Island Developing States, and threaten large population centers.

Policy Reform Crucial to Meeting Paris Agreement Goals

The report says that a reform of fossil fuel policy could increase the rate of energy efficiency gains.

Additionally, the use of new technologies such as wind, solar, electric vehicles and battery storage is critical.

In 2017, renewables accounted for 61 percent of all newly installed net power capacity in 2017 with solar alone encompassing 38 percent.

Falling costs for solar and wind power supported the economic viability for several renewable energy projects.

But even with the newly-installed capacity, renewable energy today only accounts for 19 percent of power capacity and 12.1 percent of power generation around the globe.

At the current rate of change, the pace of power transition would take approximately 55 years for the share of renewables to reach 50 percent of earth’s total energy capacity – too late to ensure the Paris Agreement’s goals can be met.

Read the full report here

Earth Experiences 400th Consecutive Warmer-than-Average Month #auspol #ClimateChange #StopAdani

The last time the world saw a cooler-than-average month was in 1984, according to new reports from NOAA.

The Earth has now had 33 years of rising and above-average temperatures.

According to recent reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s monthly global climate report, this marks the 400th consecutive month of warmer-than-usual monthly averages.

The last time the Earth had a cooler-than-average month was in 1984 when US President Ronald Reagan was in office for his second term, and the Apple Macintosh personal computer had just gone on sale.

The NOAA report also said that the month of April had the third-highest temperatures of any April in NOAA’s recorded history. NOAA started gathering climate data in 1880.

Researchers from around the world have no problem with pointing to specific causes — namely that of human impact on global climate change.

“It’s mainly due to anthropogenic (human-caused) warming,” NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez told CNN. “Climate change is real, and we will continue to see global temperatures increase in the future.”

While there have been efforts to reduce overall CO2 emissions, there still remains pushback from supporters of fossil fuels. There’s also a growing reliance on fossil fuels coming from developing nations with rapidly expanding populations, economies, and technologies. However, those developing nations still don’t use as much fossil fuels when compared to global powers like the U.S.

“We live in and share a world that is unequivocally, appreciably and consequentially warmer than just a few decades ago, and our world continues to warm,” said NOAA climate scientist Deke Arndt. “Speeding by a ‘400’ sign only underscores that, but it does not prove anything new.”

Climatologists have used the 20th-century average as a benchmark for their measurements. That allows them to ‘goal post’ when they look through climate data. This type of benchmarking also gives them the opportunity to account for climate variability.

“The thing that really matters is that, by whatever metric, we’ve spent every month for several decades on the warm side of any reasonable baseline,” Arndt said.

These rising global temperatures have hit certain areas harder than others, the report detailed. The heat was most unusually concentrated in Europe. The continent had its warmest April in recorded history. The heat wave also affected Australia and gave it its second-warmest month ever recorded.

There were even particular portions of Asia that saw extreme heat. One particular case was in southern Pakistan. The town of Nawabshah hit an incredibly high 122.4 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 50.5 Celsius) on April 30. Climatologists are currently trying to determine if this is the hottest April temperature on record for the entire planet.

There was also another milestone detailed in the NOAA monthly report. Carbon dioxide readings — the gas most closely linked to global warming — hit its highest levels in recorded history. Carbon dioxide now has over 410 parts per million. NOAA’s numbers aren’t the only ones being leveraged against this new data. According to Scripps Institute of Oceanography, this high amount of carbon dioxide is the highest amount its been in the past 800,000 years — comparing modern numbers with those found through extensive climatological research.

Press link for more: Interesting Engineering

Karachi morphs into a giant baking oven #auspol #StopAdani #ClimateChange #Heatwave #Pakistan #India

Karachi morphs into a giant baking oven

Fahim HussainPublished: May 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD/ KARACHI: A heatwave blasting through Karachi and southern parts of the country for the last four days smashed the 44° celsius mark, sending people to scramble for shelter in the fasting month of Ramazan.

The increased loadshedding and numerous power outages added to the misery of the people, forcing them to take to the streets to vent their anger. A pregnant woman died in Hyderabad while protesting against persistent load-shedding.

Sunday’s temperature surpassed previous day’s reading at 41°C, meteorologists said.

The sweltering heatwave in the city and elsewhere in Sindh is likely to extend its unwelcome stay by four to five days, they said.

The heatwave is expected to peak between Monday and Wednesday, drastically pushing the temperatures even higher, Dr Ghulam Rasool, director-general at the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), said.

Heatwave warning issued

Interior parts of Sindh can expect temperatures reaching up to 50°C as a renewed heatwave envelopes the province, he warned.

The official attributed the soaring temperatures to a halt in sea breeze which allowed the heatwave — that rode into the city on Saturday — to continue for four days.

Meanwhile, deadly heatwaves are going to be country’s much bigger socio-economic and health problem in the coming decades, particularly in densely populated urban areas of the country.

The global warming-induced extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and occurring over a much greater portion of the country.

Climate change ministry spokesperson Mohammad Saleem said, “But devastating fallouts of heatwaves on humans can be largely mitigated through timely and effective responsive measures.”

He said that extreme heatwaves such as the one presently torching the various cities and towns of the country are frequently cited as one of the most direct effects of global warming-induced climate change.

Saleem said that Pakistan is most likely to suffer more frequent and intense heatwaves as the average temperatures in the country are constantly increasing. Heatwaves matter because they kill large number of people through heat stress, cause forest fires, reduce crop yields and damage ecosystems, which are not adapted to high temperatures, he added.

The media spokesperson said that the World Meteorological Department’s reports show that annual average temperature in the country has jumped up by roughly 0.5°C, which has led to five-fold rise in heatwave days over last 30 years. Besides, the country’s annual temperature is well on path to rise by 3°C to 5°C due to a heat-trapping global carbon emission.

Karachi swelters as power supply wavers

“Such dangerously rising trends in temperatures will potentially continue to cast various negative effects on the country’s human health, spike frequency and intensity levels of extreme weather events including heatwaves, cloudbursts, floods, glacial melt, agricultural productivity, water availability, coastal erosion and seawater incursion,” Saleem highlighted.

He added humans are adapted to body temperatures of around 37°C. If humidity – the levels of water vapour in the air – goes up with the thermometer, then people caught in a zone of extreme heat cannot adjust body temperatures by perspiration. “With every 1°C rise in temperatures, the capacity of the air to hold moisture goes up by 7 per cent. People with no access to air conditioning or a cool breeze become, however, at high risk,” he added.

Quoting a study published last year in the Nature Climate Change Journal, he said that one in three persons is vulnerable to heatwave-related health impacts globally. “But by the year 2100, three out of four people on earth could be subject to at least 20 days per year of heat and humidity associated with deadly heatwaves, if carbon emissions from industries, transport…agriculture continue to rise at their current rates,” he added.

Heatwave likely to last for next six days in Karachi, warns PMD

Saleem said that according to the study’s findings based on data of about 783 heatwave incidents in 164 cities from 36 countries indicate that about 30% of the world’s population (and about 13% of the land area) experiences at least 20 days per year on which the deadly threshold is reached.

He pointed out that even though humans aggressively cut back on these carbon emissions, such as outlined in the Paris climate agreement, increasing temperatures and humidity levels would combine to ratchet up the intensity and frequency of deadly heatwaves in various countries including Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan.

Nonetheless, the good news is that heatwaves are quite predictable, and “extreme temperature early action systems as being practiced in Karachi have proven that they can save lives in the heatwave-vulnerable areas of the country, Saleem said.

“By expanding early heatwave warning systems in heatwave-prone areas of the country, authorities can boost their ability to prevent a lot of suffering, illness, and death from heatwaves through timely response and preparedness,” he added.

Saleem suggested that that building capacity of individuals and communities to respond to the heat stress during heatwaves by raising heat health awareness campaigns in the country before the onset of heatwaves season can be of great help to cope with the fallouts of the heatwaves on the health of people.

Saleem also underlined the need for district-wise heatwave management plans comprising measures including no or reduced power outages, sustained provision of water, healthcare facilities in hospitals and establishment of roadside public shades to stave off human losses from their impacts.

Press link for more: Tribune.Com.PK

Transformation of consciousness #StopAdani #auspol #empathy #ClimateChange

Transformation of consciousness

Excerpt from the Worldview Dimension of Gaia Education’s online course in Design for Sustainability

Daniel Christian WahlMay 18

Educator, speaker, strategic advisor — PhD Design for Sustainability, MSc Holistic Science, BSc Biol. Sciences; author of ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’

“The materialistic consciousness of our culture … is the root cause of the global crisis; it is not our business ethics, our politics or even our personal lifestyles.

These are symptoms of a deeper underlying problem.

Our whole civilization is unsustainable. And the reason that it is unsustainable is that our value system, the consciousness with which we approach the world, is an unsustainable mode of consciousness.”

— Peter Russell (Lazlo, Grof, & Russell, 1999, p.5)

Many people who have lived relatively conventional and successful lives within the Westernized industrial growth society, that has spread across the planet in the wake of economic globalization and the neoliberal “free”-market agenda, have recently woken up to a feeling of having raced at full tilt aiming for success and getting ahead, only to find out that the goals they were perusing, once reached, seemed shallow, meaningless, and forced them into a life-style or into keeping up a persona that they really felt unhappy with.

Why does this irrational behavior pattern prevail throughout the consumer society? (image)

The last of the economic shock waves that have rippled through the global system in 2008 as a result of the so-called sub-prime mortgage lending put in question whether this experience is in fact an isolated experience of some people, or much rather, the realization that our entire society and its guiding aims has been steaming all engines ahead into an altogether undesirable direction.

Both individuals and the western ‘financial success driven’ society as a whole seem to find themselves in a situation described by Joseph Campbell as “getting to the top of the ladder and finding that it stands against the wrong wall.”

“The dominant worldview of the Western industrial civilization does not serve either the collective or the individual.

Its major credo is a fallacy.

It promotes a way of being and a strategy of life that is ultimately ineffective, destructive, and unfulfilling.

It wants us to believe that winning the competition for money, possessions, social position, power, and fame is enough to make us happy. … that is not the true.”

Stanislav Grof (Lazlo, Grof, & Russell, 1999, p.65)

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, suggests in his book The Evolving Self (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993): “To know ourselves is the greatest achievement of our species.”

He argues that in order to understand ourselves “ what we are made of, what motivates and drives us, and what goals we dream of — involves, first of all an understanding of our evolutionary past;” we need to reflect “on the network of relationships that bind us to each other and to the natural environment” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993, p.xvii).

He acknowledges the importance of the emergence of self-reflective consciousness and its role in freeing us from genetic and cult.

The Evolving Self by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi suggest that commitment to conscious evolution gives people deep meaning an personal satisfaction.

He is noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity and for his notion of flow with years of research and writing on the topic. (image left; image right)

Csikszentmihalyi believes that the next big evolutionary change in human consciousness may simultaneously acknowledge the self as separate from and fundamentally interconnected with the complexity from which it emerges.

The individual, its culture, and the natural environment are simultaneously differentiated from each other and united into a larger complexity.

“If it is true that at this point in history the emergence of complexity is the best ‘story’ we can tell about the past and the future, and if it is true that without it our half-formed self runs the risk of destroying the planet and our budding consciousness along with it, then how can we help to realize the potential inherent in the cosmos?

When the self consciously accepts its role in the process of evolution, life acquires a transcendent meaning.

Whatever happens to our individual existences, we will become one with the power that is the universe.”

— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1993

Jeremey Rifkin suggest in The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis that human nature is fundamentally empathic rather than selfish and competitive.

He reviews recent evidence from brain science and child development studies that show how selfishness, competition and aggression are not innate parts of human behaviour but learned and culturally conditioned responses.

Our very nature is far more caring, loving, and empathic than we have been educated to believe.

While being empathic may have initially extended primarily to our family and tribe, our ability to empathize has continued to expand to include the whole of humanity, other species and life as a whole. Rifkin suggest that we are witnessing the evolutionary emergence of Homo empathicus:

“We are at the cusp, I believe, of an epic shift into a climax global economy and a fundamental repositioning of human life on the planet. The ‘Age of Reason’ is being eclipsed by the ‘Age of Empathy’.

The most important question facing humanity is this: Can we reach global empathy in time to avoid the collapse of civilization and save the Earth?”

— Jeremy Rifkin (2010, p.3)

The change that Rifkin speaks about resonates with Albert Einsteins’ conviction that our task must be to “widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature.”

While this change is needed at a global scale of the human family, the first step lies in the awakening and transformation of consciousness of each and every one of us.

This section will explore both the personal and the collective dimension of this transformation. …

‘The Empathic Civilisation’, by Jeremy Rifkin. In this ambitious book, bestselling social critic Jeremy Rifkin shows that the disconnect between our vision for the world and our ability to realize that vision lies in the current state of human consciousness.

The very way our brains are structured disposes us to a way of feeling, thinking, and acting in the world that is no longer entirely relevant to the new environments we have created for ourselves.

Note: This is an excerpt from the Worldview Dimension of Gaia Education’s online course in Design for Sustainability. In 2012 I was asked to rewrite this dimension as part of a collaboration between Gaia Education and the Open University of Catalunya (UOC) and in 2016 I revised it again into this current version. The next opportunity to join the course is with the start of the Worldview Dimension on May 21st, 2018. You might also enjoy my book ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’.

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Press link for more: Medium.com

Urgent Climate Action Required to Protect Tens of Thousands of Species Worldwide #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

Urgent Climate Action Required to Protect Tens of Thousands of Species Worldwide, New Research Shows | InsideClimate News

By Jack Cushman

Jack Cushman is an editor and reporter for InsideClimate News. Before joining ICN, he worked for 35 years as a writer and editor in Washington, D.C., principally with the Washington bureau of The New York Times. Cushman has written extensively about energy, the environment, industry and military affairs, also covering financial and transportation beats, and editing articles across the full spectrum of national and international policy. He served on the board of governors of the National Press Club and was its president in the year 2000. He is the author of “Keystone and Beyond: Tar Sands and the National Interest in the Era of Climate Change.”

And Neela Banerjee

Neela Banerjee is a Washington-based reporter for Inside Climate News. She led the investigation into Exxon’s early climate research, which was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service reporting and the recipient of nearly a dozen other journalism awards. Before joining ICN, she spent four years as the energy and environmental reporter for the Los Angeles Times’ Washington bureau. Banerjee covered global energy, the Iraq War and other issues with The New York Times. She also served as a Moscow correspondent with The Wall Street Journal. Banerjee grew up in southeast Louisiana and graduated from Yale University.

A mere half degree of extra global warming could mean profound risks for tens of thousands of the planet’s species, scientists have found. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Humanity can powerfully improve the survival odds of tens of thousands of species, but only if nations dramatically raise their ambitions in the fight against climate change, according to new research published on Thursday in the journal Science.

One key to salvaging plant and vertebrate habitat and protecting the world’s biodiversity is to limit warming to the most challenging benchmark established under the 2015 Paris treaty—1.5 degrees Celsius of warming—not to the treaty’s less stringent 2 degree guardrail, the study found.

The study assessed, in more detail than ever before, a key measure of extinction risk: the shrinking size of each species’ current geographical range, or natural habitat. It projected that for an alarming number of species, their range size would shrink by at least half as temperatures rise past the Paris goals.

If nations do no more than they have pledged so far to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions—and warming consequently shoots past 3 degrees by the end of this century—6 percent of all vertebrates would be at risk. So would 44 percent of plants and a whopping 49 percent of insects.

But the dangers would be greatly reduced if warming can be limited to 1.5 degrees. That might protect the overwhelming majority of the 115,000 species assessed by the researchers. Just 4 percent of vertebrates would lose more than half of their current range. Only 8 percent of plants and 6 percent of insects would face that risk.

Keeping warming to 2 degrees is not nearly as effective, they found. The additional half degree of warming would double the impact on plants and vertebrate species, and triple the impact on insects.

First-of-Its-Kind Biodiversity Study

Conducted by researchers from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and James Cook University in Australia, the study builds on their earlier work. For the first time, it examines insects and explores how effectively the extinction risks can be addressed by increasing ambition.

“If warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, then more species can keep up or even gain in range,” said Rachel Warren, the study’s lead researcher, “whereas if warming reached 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, many species cannot keep up and far more species lose large parts of their range.”

The new research adds a compelling layer of evidence to the mounting risks of rising temperatures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is currently revising a comprehensive draft report on the science behind the 1.5 degree target. This new report on endangered species was written in time to be reflected in the IPCC review, to be published in the fall.

A leaked copy of the latest IPCC draft, circulated for expert comment in the winter, noted in its summary that “local extinction (extirpation) risks are higher in a 2 degrees Celsius warmer world, compared to  1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Race to Bolster Paris Treaty’s Call for Action

At Paris, everyone recognized that the pledges to cut emissions would fall short of meeting the 2 degree target. Even so, the world’s nations decided to shoot for 1.5 degrees, where the dangers become pronounced for small island states and other highly vulnerable people. Since then, talks about increasing ambition have made relatively little headway, and President Donald Trump has renounced the pledges of the Obama administration.

Whether the goal is 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees, scientists say it can only be met by bringing net emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels to zero later in this century. The main difference is that with the more ambitious goal, emissions must be reduced much faster; some say it’s already too late.

This urgency has been highlighted by one peer-reviewed study after another, as scientists explore the consequences of falling short. Hundreds of scientists have filed thousands of comments to the IPCC as it races to bolster the treaty’s call for rapid action.

115,000 Species Studied; Insects Particularly Vulnerable

Since lost species never come back, and since many species perform vital ecosystem services, the growing risks of extinction are an especially profound aspect of climate change.

Until now, these problems have been studied in relatively few species, notably tropical coral reefs, which are already dying off under the approximately 1 degree of warming that’s been observed so far. They may be partly saved if emissions are reduced aggressively enough to stay below 1.5 degrees.

This time, the researchers examined 115,000 species, including 34,000 insects and other invertebrates that previously have not been included in global studies of climate and biodiversity. (Roughly a million species of insects have been named, and there may be many more.)

Insects, it turned out, are particularly sensitive to temperature increases, and these findings are particularly alarming.

They focus attention on pollinators essential to agriculture and insects that serve as food for birds and animals. The researchers found that three groups of pollinators are especially vulnerable to climate risks—true flies, beetles, and moths and butterflies.

The study’s authors concluded that meeting the most aggressive temperature target would most benefit species in Europe, Australia, the Amazon and southern Africa.

The study also looked at the ability of different species to migrate outside their normal ranges.

Birds, mammals and butterflies have better chances of relocating than other species as temperatures rise, the researchers found

Press link for more: Inside Climate News

UN Call for rapid scale up of Climate Finance #auspol #UNFCCC #ClimateChange

UN Secretary-General Calls for Rapidly Scaled up Climate Finance | UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 15 May 2018 – UN Secretary-General António Guterres has renewed his call for governments, industry, and finance to meet the challenge of climate change through innovation, urgent action, and substantial investment.

“Investments in clean, green infrastructure need to be scaled up globally.

For that, we need leadership from the finance and investment community and by local, regional and national governments who will decide on major infrastructure plans over the coming years,” said the Secretary-General in his remarks at the Austrian World Summit in Vienna.

The International Energy Agency estimates that investment in renewable electricity last year was $242 billion, more than half of what was invested in new fossil fuel development.

The UN’s top official urged enhanced climate financing to face and address the world’s “utmost priority”. “For a full-scale transition to clean energy, we must see billions invested by 2020,” he said.

Read his full address here:

I am very pleased and very honored to be with all of you today.

I thank the government of Austria and the R20 for promoting the low-carbon infrastructure we need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to implement the Paris Agreement and with enhanced ambition as the targets that were fixed in Paris, we all know, will not be enough.

We need to have an increased ambition in that implementation.

This is a matter of the utmost priority.

Every day, I am faced with the challenges of our troubled and complex world. But none of them loom so large as climate change.

If we fail to meet the challenge, all our other challenges will just become greater and threaten to swallow us.

Climate change is, quite simply, an existential threat for most life on the planet – including, and especially, the life of humankind.

That is why we must use all our resources to build a sense of urgency.

We must act with common purpose to raise ambition while we still have time to limit temperature rise to well below 2 degrees, and as close to 1.5 degrees as possible.

For that, we need leadership and innovation – the focus of this Summit.

Both are essential for climate action.

Today, I want to focus on solutions.

We do need a new energy revolution.

The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones.

We do not need to wait for coal and oil to run out to end the age of fossil fuels.

A great many solutions already exist or are in the pipeline.

In the past decade, prices for renewables have plummeted and investments are on the rise.

Today, a fifth of the world’s electricity is produced by renewable energy.

We must build on this.

There are plenty of examples to inspire us.

Morocco is building a solar farm the size of Paris that will power over a million homes by 2020.

Last July, China surpassed its 2020 goal of 105 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity.

A decade ago it had a mere 100 megawatts.

That’s more than a thousand-fold increase in ten years, and represents nearly one-third of global installed capacity.

In France, the government has announced a bill to end the search for and production of hydrocarbons.

In the United States, renewables are set to provide 69 per cent of new capacity by 2021, as dozens of coal plants are retired.

Just last week, Allianz, a leading insurer, announced it would refuse to cover coal-fired power plants and coal mines with immediate effect and rid itself of all coal risks.

The world is seeing a groundswell of climate action.

It is clear that clean energy makes climate sense.

But it also makes economic sense. Today it is the cheapest energy.

And it will deliver significant health benefits.

Air pollution affects nearly all of us, regardless of borders.

The World Health Organization reports that more than 80 per cent of people living in urban areas are exposed to poor – and dangerous – air quality.

In China, it is estimated that fewer deaths from improved air quality could lead to savings of nearly $340 billion dollars by 2030 – four times the cost of meeting China’s climate goals.

This, surely, is the definition of win-win-win.

Investments in clean, green infrastructure need to be scaled up globally.

For that, we need leadership from the finance and investment community and by local, regional and national governments who will decide on major infrastructure plans over the coming years.

I encourage private sector leaders here today to announce new sources of financing for clean energy projects.

The International Energy Agency estimates that investment in renewable electricity last year was $242 billion.

That is more than half of what was invested in new fossil fuel development.

That figure is promising, but remains insufficient. For a full-scale transition to clean energy, we must see billions invested by 2020.

I also encourage you to disclose your climate risk, divest from fossil fuels and forge partnerships that will invest in low-emissions resilient infrastructure.

We need to do this from the biggest cities to the smallest towns.

The opportunities are tremendous.

Some 75 per cent of the infrastructure needed by 2050 still remains to be built.

How this is done will either lock us in to a high emission future or steer us towards truly sustainable low-emissions development.

There is only one rational choice.

Let us also encourage innovative solutions to localize climate finance.

We can take inspiration from Toronto and Cape Town, which have launched their own green bonds.

I also look forward to the outcome of today’s discussions on a Subnational Climate Finance Facility for sub-Saharan Africa.

I applaud this Summit’s emphasis on city and subnational action.

We need financing to reach the people and places that need it most.

Mobilizing and equipping local governments with the capacity and financing to accelerate climate action is necessary if we are to bend the emissions curve.

Despite inspiring climate action in so many places, climate change continues to move faster than we are.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says: “The more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.”

But it does not have to be that way.

The economics of solar and wind are on our side.

Cutting edge technologies, such as electric vehicles, or energy from algae, promise a new era of clean air and climate action.

New awareness is growing and new partnerships are being formed.

Let us build on this momentum.

Next year, as it was said, I am convening a Climate Summit to galvanize greater climate ambition.

I count on you to take ambition to new heights today and pave the way for more leadership and innovative action.

Let’s join a race to the top, a race where there are only winners.

Thank you.

Press link for more: UNFCCC

Bitcoin’s energy use, you libertarian nerds look even worse than usual #auspol #qldpol #ClimateChangeou

Bitcoin’s energy use got studied, and you libertarian nerds look even worse than usual

By Eric Holthauson May 17, 2018

Bitcoin’s energy footprint has more than doubled since Grist first wrote about it six months ago.

It’s expected to double again by the end of the year, according to a new peer-reviewed study out Wednesday. And if that happens, bitcoin would be gobbling up 0.5 percent of the world’s electricity, about as much as the Netherlands.

That’s a troubling trajectory, especially for a world that should be working overtime to root out energy waste and fight climate change. By late next year, bitcoin could be consuming more electricity than all the world’s solar panels currently produce — about 1.8 percent of global electricity, according to a simple extrapolation of the study’s predictions. That would effectively erase decades of progress on renewable energy.

Although the author of the study, Alex de Vries, an economist and data consultant based in the Netherlands, has shared these calculations publicly before, this is the first time that an analysis of bitcoin’s energy appetite has appeared in a peer-reviewed journal.

Bitcoin continues to soar in popularity — mostly as a speculative investment. And like any supercharged speculative investment, it swings wildly. Within the past 18 months, the price of bitcoin has soared ten-fold, crashed by 75 percent, only to double again, all while hedge funds and wealthy libertarians debate the future of the virtual currency.

Beyond its tentative success as a get-rich-quick scheme, bitcoin has an increasingly real-world cost. The process of “mining” for coins requires a globally distributed computer network racing to solve math problems — and also helps keep any individual transaction confidential and tamper-proof. That, in turn, requires an ever-escalating arms race of computing power — and electricity use — which, at the moment, has no end in sight. A single bitcoin transaction is so energy intensive that it could power the average U.S. household for a month.

A fluctuating bitcoin price, along with increases in computer efficiency, has slowed the cryptocurrency’s energy footprint growth rate to “just” 20 percent per month so far in this year. If that keeps up, bitcoin would consume all the world’s electricity by January 2021.

That simply won’t happen — government regulators would surely come to their senses by then — but it is a sign of bitcoin’s disastrous growth rate. In recent months, bitcoin supporters have criticized de Vries for being too pessimistic about its energy usage. But, as de Vries writes in the study, his estimates could also be missing out on secretive or illegal participation in the network, meaning there’s maybe even more happening than meets the eye. In at least one instance that de Vries found, a researcher was caught diverting a National Science Foundation supercomputer to mining bitcoin.

It’s a telling social phenomenon of late capitalism that we are willing to construct elaborate computer networks to conduct secure transactions with each other — and in the process torpedoing our hopes at a clean energy future.

Press link for more: Grist.org

NASA Solves Climate Mystery, Confirms Methane Spike Tied to Oil & Gas

New NASA Study Solves Climate Mystery, Confirms Methane Spike Tied to Oil and Gas

By Sharon Kelly

Over the past few years, natural gas has become the primary fuel that America uses to generate electricity, displacing the long-time king of fossil fuels, coal. In 2019, more than a third of America’s electrical supply will come from natural gas, with coal falling to a second-ranked 28 percent, the Energy Information Administration predicted this month, marking the growing ascendency of gas in the American power market.

But new peer-reviewed research adds to the growing evidence that the shift from coal to gas isn’t necessarily good news for the climate.

A team led by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed that the oil and gas industry is responsible for the largest share of the world’s rising methane emissions—which are a major factor in climate change—and in the process the researchers resolved one of the mysteries that has plagued climate scientists over the past several years.

Missing Methane

That mystery? Since 2006, methane emissions have been rising by about 25 teragrams (a unit of weight so large that NASA notes you’d need more than 200,000 elephants to equal one teragram) every year. But when different researchers sought to pinpoint the sources of that methane, they ran into a problem.

If you added the growing amounts of methane pollution from oil and gas to the rising amount of methane measured from other sources, like microbes in wetlands and marshes, the totals came out too high—exceeding the levels actually measured in the atmosphere. The numbers didn’t add up.

It turns out, there was a third factor at play, one whose role was underestimated, NASA’s new paper concludes, after reviewing satellite data, ground-level measurements and chemical analyses of the emissions from different sources.

A drop in the acreage burned in fires worldwide between 2006 and 2014 meant that methane from those fires went down far more than scientists had realized. Fire-related methane pollution dropped twice as much as previously believed, the new paper, published in the journal Nature Communications, reports.

Using this data, “the team showed that about 17 teragrams per year of the increase is due to fossil fuels, another 12 is from wetlands or rice farming, while fires are decreasing by about 4 teragrams per year,” NASA said in a Jan. 2 press release. “The three numbers combine to 25 teragrams a year—the same as the observed increase.”

“A fun thing about this study was combining all this different evidence to piece this puzzle together,” lead scientist John Worden of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said in a statement.

Shale Boom, Methane Boom

Less fun, unfortunately: the implications for the climate. Methane is a major greenhouse gas, capable of trapping 86 times as much heat as the same amount of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it hits the Earth’s atmosphere. So relatively tiny amounts of methane in the air can pack a massive climate-changing punch.

“The sharp increase in methane emissions correlates closely with the U.S. fracking boom,” said Jim Warren, executive director of the climate watchdog group NC WARN. “Leaking and venting of unburned gas—which is mostly methane—makes natural gas even worse for the climate than coal.”

The new NASA study is not the first to call attention to the connection between oil and gas and methane leaks. A study in March last year found that natural gas power plants put out between 20 and 120 times more methane pollution than previously believed, due in part to accidental leaks and in part to deliberate “venting” by companies. And as far back as 2011, researchers from Cornell University warned that switching over from coal to gas could be a grave mistake where climate change is concerned.

The NASA study may help settle the science on the oil and gas industry’s role in rising methane emissions.

To conduct their research, the scientists examined the methane molecules linked to different sources, focusing on carbon isotopes in the molecules, which helped them match the methane to different sources. Methane molecules rising from wetlands and farms have a relatively small concentration of heavy carbon isotopes, oil and gas-linked methane higher amounts, and methane from fires the most heavy carbon. The scientists also cross-checked their findings by looking at other associated gases, like ethane and carbon monoxide—and the numbers all fell into place.

It turns out that fires worldwide burned up roughly 12 percent less acreage during 2007 to 2014, compared to the prior roughly half-dozen years—but the amount of methane from those fires fell more sharply, plunging nearly twice as fast, measurements from NASA’s Terra and Aura satellites revealed.

“There’s been a ping-pong game of explanations going back and forth about what might explain this,” Penn State University atmospheric scientist Ken Davis told Mashable. “It’s a complicated puzzle with a lot of parts, but [the study’s conclusions] do seem plausible and likely.”

That 2006-2014 lull in fires may be part of a larger trend. Historically, “burning during the past century has been lower than at any time in the past 2000 years,” one 2016 study points out, due in large part to the spread of fire suppression techniques.

But don’t expect the lower methane emissions from less burning worldwide to last forever. One of the impacts of climate change is to make large wildfires more likely, the Union of Concerned Scientists points out.

“Wildfire seasons (seasons with higher wildfire potential) in the United States are projected to lengthen, with the southwest’s season of fire potential lengthening from seven months to all year long,” the group said. “Additionally, wildfires themselves are likely to be more severe.”

In the meantime, even while fires declined worldwide, methane emissions overall have continued to rise sharply—and, according to NASA’s latest research, it turns out pollution linked to the oil and gas industry is responsible for the biggest chunk of that growing problem.

Press link for more: Eco watch

Australia’s emissions have increased by 3 %

Ignoring our Paris agreement