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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

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Rebellion Day: does the gravity of #ClimateChange ever justify breaking the law? #ExtinctionRebellion #StopAdani #ClimateStrike #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #springst #wapol #sapol #TheDrum #QandA

A new group of environmental activists want to use civil disobedience to highlight the climate crisis.

By India Bourke

India Bourke

Getting this balance right is perhaps the greatest challenge facing a new group of environmental activists, known as Extinction Rebellion, who want to use civil disobedience to highlight the climate crisis.

Drawing upon findings from a recent UN report on climate change, the movement argues that the world only has “12 years left” to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown.

They consequently want the UK to reach net-zero emissions by 2025.

“We say the social contract has been broken, so we not only have a right to rebel, we have a duty to rebel”, said Gail Bradbrook, an experienced activist and mother of two, at a press conference last week.

Rather than submit yet another petition, they believe that peaceful but arrestable protest is the best way to grab the attention of the press and the politicians.

This will culminate in a Hunger Games reminiscent “Rebellion Day”, on Saturday 17 November, in central London. Organisers say over 500 people have signed up to be arrested in a protest that they hope will “shut down” the city.

Their approach has already had some success: at least 27 protestors were arrested on Wednesday, after super-gluing themselves to the Downing Street gates, while human-blockades and “lock-ons” have also stopped traffic outside the Department for Energy and the Brazilian Embassy.

But to reach a critical mass of participants, the movement must persuade people who wouldn’t normally conceive of committing crime, to do just that. So can it convince new recruits that the climate crisis justifies breaking the law?

“Climate change will lead to irreparable harm to our planet’s abiliity to sustain life, and cause great suffering, says Eduardo Gill-Pedro, a post-doctoral researcher in law at Lund University and a former rights and justice campaigner for Friends of the Earth. “So there is a good argument that we have a duty to do something, and that this duty outweighs our duty to obey the law.”

Breaking the law does not necessarily have to result in a wider disintegration of legal respect, he argues. “If we break the law saying ‘we don’t care what the law says, we want X, or we do not want Y’ this might undermine respect for the rule of law. Yet if we break the law, acknowledging that it is the law and, in principle, should be respected, but we say ‘despite this, other moral considerations impel us to break the law’, this will not necessarily undermine respect for the rule of law.”

Key to staying on the right side of law-breaking is also a commitment to non-violence and acknowledgement of any crimes committed, say the leaders of Extinction Rebellion. For example, they are training new activists to remain next to any graffiti they spray (with washable spray-paint), or even wash it off themselves. Participants in Saturday’s event also can choose whether to be involved in arrestable protest or not.

By opening out – and potentially popularising – a mode of protest previously only pursued by a small group of hardcore activists (many of whom have helped establish Extinction Rebellion), the organisers hope the environmental justice movement will gain new energy and reach.

Already, this week’s protests have drawn participants from a vast range of communities and professions, from farmers to faith groups. A town councillor and a retired civil servant protesting fracking in their local Lancashire community tell me they are also planning to make the trip.

Environmental NGOs are also supportive. “Friends of the Earth only takes part in peaceful, legal protest but we recognise we need a broad coalition of people, all clamouring loudly for action, to deal with this crisis before it’s too late,” says Liz Hutchins, campaigns director at Friends of the Earth.

And yet, there is a risk that in aiming to resolve all the world’s ills at once – political and environmental – the movement may not change any in time.

One stumbling block could be the extent of their ambition. Net-zero emissions by 2025 is a more extreme target than that set by the UN’s own report (which calls for a 45 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2030, then net-zero by 2050). It may instead be wiser to follow the findings of the Independent Committee on Climate Change, which is presently looking into how and when the UK could responsibly reach net-zero.

A second sticking point could be the movement’s focus on climate science’s very worst predictions. “My personal view is that a collapse is coming,” said Gail Bradbrook at the press event. But while visions of a global collapse in food production and human population, in which only the richest survive, is not altogether inconceivable (just this week, the hiring of private fire-fighters by the Kardashian family, showed just how linked the ability to cope with climate change is to class), it also feels like an overly gloomy estimation of the human capacity for innovation, adaptation and co-operation.

And a third is the movement’s radical political edge. The personal view of Howard Rees, 38, a press coordinator with Extinction Rebellion, is that sufficient change is not possible under our existing system. Britain’s present form of democracy is a “sham”, he says, where the leaders are “puppets” of a capitalist elite, reliant on planetary exploitation. Consequently, the movement also aims to introduce a new representative People’s Assembly, which would dictate economic priorities to politicians.

As membership swells, however, the ambitions of the Extinction Rebellion may shift again, since its decision making process is based around internal discussion. And its members are not short on passion.

So when it comes to encouraging government to take swift action on emissions they may yet prove, as the Hunger Games puts it, that “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear”. 

Press link for more: New Statesman

For a better understanding of the Extinction Revolution watch this video.

by Rupert Read

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

Lecture given at Churchill College Cambridge University

Bizarre & frightening conditions that sparked the Camp Fire #CaliforniaWildfire #ClimateChange now a #ClimateCrisis Join #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #TheDrum #QandAl9

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
By Eric Holthaus

This story has been updated to reflect the fire’s impact as of Thursday night, November 15.

The Camp Fire, which destroyed the town of Paradise, is now the most destructive to ever hit California and the deadliest wildfire in modern American history. As of Thursday night, 63 people are known to have died, and 631 are still missing. The last fire this deadly was back in 1918 in Minnesota — before professional firefighting or meteorological science.

“This is the kind of urban conflagration Americans thought they had banished in the early 20th century,” wrote fire historian Stephen Pyne for Slate. “It’s like watching measles or polio return.”

Our unnaturally warming climate set the stage for the return of this type of devastating fire.

The Camp Fire, and the escalating onslaught of weather emergencies like it, crystalizes the urgency of the climate challenge: Without radical changes, there will be more fire catastrophes like Paradise.

According to local meteorologist Rob Elvington, the Camp Fire began under atmospheric conditions with “no analog/comparison” in history for the date. Northern California’s vegetation dryness was off the charts — exceeding the 99th percentile for any single day as far back as local records go. “Worse than no rain is negative rain,” wrote Elvington.

The air was so dry, it was sucking water out of the land.

That warranted an “extremely critical” fire weather alert by the National Weather Service, which was really an understatement for the direness of the situation. According to the U.S. Forest Service, fighting a fire in such conditions is almost by definition a losing battle: “Direct attack is rarely possible, and may be dangerous, except immediately after ignition. Fires that develop headway in heavy slash or in conifer stands may be unmanageable while the extreme burning condition lasts.”

The Camp Fire burned so hot that it cremated people in their homes and cars. Lizzie Johnson, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter embedded with one of the area’s cadaver search-and-rescue teams, has been candid about her experience. “There are some things you can’t unsee while reporting,” she wroteon Twitter.

Fire disasters on a scale recently considered inconceivable now appear to be the inevitable. Six of the 10 most destructive wildfires in California history have ignited in the past three years. In little more than a year, two other California towns (Redding and Santa Rosa) have been similarly devastated by fires. As long as we continue on a business-as-usual path, it’s a matter of where, not when, another California town will be erased from the map.

Like the Camp Fire, future fires catastrophes are inescapable — on our current path. It may take generations for California’s forests to adapt to the warming and drying climate. Nearly every square mile of the state’s forests may need to burn for that to happen — for new life to emerge and for new tree species to migrate northward toward new water sources and cooler air.

We can’t continue on as if the fate of Paradise was just a fluke. By failing to take appropriate action on climate change, we are actively choosing to create the ideal conditions for future, unfightable fires. The fact that millions of people around the world are being subjected to increasingly extreme weather is a choice we make every day.

We know the kinds of bold, radical plans that scientists say are now necessaryto steer the world toward a safer future — including remaking the American economy to rapidly reduce emissions immediately.

We have the money, the time, and the knowledge to implement them.

Future fires are a given, but we can avoid future tragedies at the level of Paradise.

It’s our choice whether last week’s fires become a cautionary tale, or the new normal.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Press link for more: Grist

The planet is getting hotter!

We must demand Climate Action

Listen to the scientists.

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.

Christian #climatechange activists arrested outside Downing Street #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol #Airpollution kills millions every year. #TheDrum #QandA

By Eno Adeogun

Ruth Jarman, 55, Phil Kingston, 82, Fr Martin Newell, 51, Richard Barnard, 45, and Nick Cooper, 36, used spray paint cans to write messages that called for a zero carbon future.

Shortly before his arrest, Richard Barnard said: “I decided to take part on behalf of all the people around the world who are already suffering the effects of climate change.

“Of course I’d rather not be here today; I would rather be at home. However, I have the privilege of being able to speak out for justice and I will do that for those around the world who don’t have that luxury.”

The group also attempted to block the entrance to Downing Street and Jarman used glue to stick herself to railings, before being removed by police.

The Extinction Rebellion protest was one of a series that happened across the capital yesterday.

The group had previously declared a fortnight of planned protests they described as ”the rebellion’ after the government failed to agree to their demands by 12th November which included declaring a state of emergency around climate change.

Kingston, 82 who is a Christian Climate Action member, was led away two weeks ago by police without being arrested after lying in the road outside parliament for several hours.

Those involved with the ‘rebellion’ have said the movement is “prepared to risk arrest in order to ensure the world avoids climate breakdown”.

Press link for more: Premier

If you’re wondering why people are demanding change watch this video from Churchill College Cambridge

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

We Are So Screwed! Study Warns Of 5 Degree Celsius Warming By 2100 #ClimateChange #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #Auspol #qldpol #nswpol #springst

By Steve Hanley

Time to stop pretending.

The human race has conspired to exterminate itself, at least on this planet.

According to a study authored by Yann Robidou du Pont of the Australian-German Climate & Energy College at the University of Melbourne and Malte Meinshausen of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, if we continue to do what we are doing to address a warming climate, we might as well all lie back, sip our favorite alcoholic beverage, and party like its 1999, because we will all be dead soon and so will be our planet.

Nice work, humans.

We have conspired to foul our own nest so egregiously that our extinction is now all but assured.

All that left to do is rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic as we slowly but surely extinguish any chance that we have of survival. 

Where Does Your Country Rank?

The study, entitled “Warming assessment of the bottom-up Paris Agreement emissions pledges,” was published on November 16, 2018 in the journal Nature Communications.

It claims that if China, Russia, and Canada continue with their halfhearted measures to rein in rising global temperatures, the world will be 5º C hotter by 2100 than it is today. 5º Celsius, chums, is a death sentence for humanity and virtually every living creature on the Earth.

But there is good news.

The current policies of the United States and Australia would only kill most of the world’s population by permitting an increase in average global temperatures of 4º C. Europe is doing a better job than most parts of the world but even its efforts will lead to a rise of 3º C, enough to cause the death of billions of people. Congratulations, Europe.

You are the best of the worst.

Of all the developed nations, India is doing the best job.

Its policies, if enacted globally, would limit temperature rise to just over 2º C.

You can see where every country falls relative to each other on the interactive map at Paris Equity Check.

Nationally Determined Contributions

As part of the Paris climate accords of 2015, each nation made pledges regarding the actions it was prepared to take to limit its contribution to global warming, known as Nationally Determined Contributions.

The Paris agreements recognized that a top down solution to global warming imposed by the United Nations or similar organization was an unworkable plan, so the bottom up process of letting each country establish its own targets was adopted.

The NDCs are supposed to take into account the degree to which each country has contributed to rising global temperatures historically and its ability to bear the costs of decarbonizing its economy. The authors of the study recognize that each country will construct its NDC goals to reflect its own self interest. Their purpose is to provide a framework that allows each nation to compare its actions to those of other nations. “This paper provides a means for countries to check how their contribution might be perceived by other countries and thus judge whether they are perceived as a climate leader or laggard,” Joeri Rogelj of Imperial College London tells The Guardian.

Optimism Within The Gloom

Despite the gloomy results of the study, its authors see a ray of sunshine in all this. “The positive outcome of this study is that we have a metric to assess the ratcheting up of ambition. Civil society, experts and decision-makers can use this to hold their governments accountable, and possibly undertake climate litigation cases as happened recently in the Netherlands,” du Pont says.

“This metric translates the lack of ambition on a global scale to a national scale. If we look at the goal of trying to avoid damage to the Earth, then I am pessimistic as this is already happening. But this should be a motivation to ratchet up ambition and avoid global warming as much and as rapidly as possible. Every fraction of a degree will have a big impact.”

Things Aren’t Looking Good

All we can say to du Pont and Meinshausen is, “Good luck with that, fellas.” Brazil has just elected a new leader who has vowed to withdraw from the Paris climate accords and permit clear cutting the remaining Amazon rain forest to allow more agriculture and oil extraction. His new foreign ministers told the press yesterday that climate change is nothing but a Marxist plot, echoing the now infamous statements of Donald Trump who called it a hoax perpetrated by China.

International Cooperation? Are You Serious?

At a time when international cooperation will be required on a scale never before seen, many countries — including the US — are descending into a nationalistic fervor that demonizes foreigners, reducing the chances for cooperation and exacerbating the problem.

Right now the US and China are playing a game of “Mine’s bigger than yours” in the South China Sea and threatening the next world war.

It’s as if humans have some built-in wiring that prevents them from seeing the train bearing down on them while they cavort on the tracks.

Time For The Next Great Flood?

The legend of the Great Flood is found in every known culture, even those in remote areas where contact with the outside world has been rare.

It’s not always Noah and the Ark.

Sometimes it’s a giant war canoe or a floating island.

The means of conveyance may vary but the message does not.

At some time in the past, the Earth was inundated and most life was destroyed.

After a few hundred thousand years, the waters receded and a new civilization arose. It’s as if humans have a genetic memory of a cataclysmic event that happened long ago.

Perhaps the Earth goes through cycles similar to the season — dying from time to time so it can be reborn.

If things continue going as they are now, with fossil fuel companies straining every sinew to extract the last molecule of energy from beneath the Earth’s crust, we may find soon ourselves approaching a precipice.

Once we go over it, the Earth will return to its watery state until such time as it heals the wounds inflicted by humans.

Let’s hope the species that follows us a million years or so from now is imbued with the skills necessary to avoid extinction.

Based on the observable evidence, almost any life form that follows after we have snuffed out human civilization will be an improvement.

Press link for more: Clean Technica

About Steve Hanley

Steve Hanley Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island and anywhere else the Singularity may take him. His muse is Charles Kuralt — “I see the road ahead is turning. I wonder what’s around the bend?” You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

If you haven’t seen this video from the Churchill College Cambridge it’s a must watch

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.

Press link for more: XR Blog

Face reality watch this video from Churchill College Cambridge

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

Australian health professionals’ statement on climate change and health. #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #springst #wapol #StopAdani join #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #TheDrum

The Australian Government’s contemptuous dismissal of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including the panel’s recommendation to dramatically reduce coal power by 2050, is unacceptable.
As Australian health professionals and scientists, we are dismayed by the implications of our government’s ongoing stance to disregard the consensus of the world’s leading climate scientists, the precautionary principle, and any idea of duty of care regarding the future wellbeing of Australians and our immediate neighbours.
Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter and produces about 7% of the world’s coal. 
Worldwide, fossil fuel burning produces around 72% of all greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities. 
To limit global warming to 2°C, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves, and more than 80% of current coal reserves as of 2010 should remain unused. 
Air pollution from coal burning is responsible for numerous health problems—according to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016, around 2·5 million deaths were caused by solid fuel burning worldwide.
Ironically, no other member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is as vulnerable to climate disruption as Australia.
Climate disruption is already amplifying the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, bushfires, drought, and tropical storms, causing harm and damaging livelihoods.
As with other established historical harms to human health (eg, tobacco and exorbitant hepatitis C drug prices), narrow vested interests must be countered to bring about fundamental change in the consumption of coal and other fossil fuels.
The Australian Government must commit immediately to embrace strategies of energy generation that do not put more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (panel)—with healthier communities reaping the benefits now and in the future. Without concerted action by all, the IPCC recommendation to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will certainly not be achieved.
Because of processes of colonisation and marginalisation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia have been cut off from lands and seas and are in poorer overall health; climate change will only amplify these inequities. Australia’s Pacific Island neighbours are also highly vulnerable to climate-related risks to health, extreme weather events, rising sea levels, coastal erosion, habitability, food security, water supply, and economic growth.
Our disregard of their plight through continued coal burning is shameful.
Press link for more: The Lancet
A must watch video from Cambridge University Churchill College

The #ExtinctionRebellion – A Tipping Point for the Climate Emergency? #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #springst #wapol #TheDrum #QandA #ClimateStrike #StopAdani

By Paul Gilding

Paul Gilding

Paul Gilding is an Australian environmentalist, consultant, and author.

Gilding, a former executive director of Greenpeace International, and a Fellow at University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership, is the author of The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World (2011).

In 2012, Gilding delivered a presentation on the thesis of his book at the 2012 TED conferencetitled The Earth is Full, which earned him press attention.

He lives in southern Tasmania with his wife and children.

The Extinction Rebellion – A Tipping Point for the Climate Emergency?

The only rational response to the scientific evidence on climate change, is to declare a global emergency – to mobilise all of society to do whatever it takes to fix it. As the UN Secretary General Guterres recently stated: “We face a direct existential threat”.

Failure is really not an option when “failure” means we could “annihilate intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential”  This is now a war for civilisation’s survival. [1]

Meanwhile we blunder on…. Deeply committed to making verbal commitments, while delivering pathetically inadequate actual responses. Responses that treat the clear and urgent advice of the world’s top scientists – that we face the risk of global collapse – as merely passing thoughts to be casually contemplated.

Well, time’s up. To quote Winston Churchill: “Owing to past neglect, in the face of the plainest warnings, we have entered upon a period of danger.  The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedients of delays, is coming to its close.  In its place we are entering a period of consequences …We cannot avoid this period, we are in it now…”

Enter the Extinction Rebellion.

This is group of people who have simply had enough.

They have looked at the science and concluded that the world has gone mad, that we now face the risk of extinction. And they’ve decided not to stand by in the face of that – but instead to rebel against the madness that has overtaken us. To try to shock us all into action, to face up to reality.

Extreme? Over-reaction?

Maybe. But maybe not.

Of course, we can’t know for sure.

The crucial mistake we tend to make in complicated issues like climate, is to fail on very basic risk assessment and management.

We don’t knowsociety definitelyfaces collapse, so we assume (or hope) it won’t and act accordingly.

This is madness.

If your doctor told you, “on balance I think your child will be dead in five years – I can’t be sure but the best medical science suggests a 90% likelihood.

However, if you take these simple steps – steps that will be quite inconvenient and disruptive but totally doable – the likelihood of their death will fall to 5%.” What would you do?

Wait for certainty?

Which could only come when your child was on their death bed?

Madness.

That’s the point of the Extinction Rebellion.

To make us all stop and think – to ask the simple question: Am I really paying attention?

To what I know, to what we all now know?

The big question is whether this will be any different from the past 30 years of climate activism.

It may of course not be.

We have shown an incredible ability to stay in denial about what is now asked of us. But it may also be very different.

Why? I suggest five reasons.

  1. Civil Disobedience at (potentially) large scale. 

To date most climate activism has been advocacy for policy, with a relatively small focus on direct action protests. When the latter has occurred, it has focused on specific activities e.g. Keystone and other pipelines, new coal mines. Important and often powerful, but the debate then tends to then go those particular developments, with the global climate issue as the context. Extinction Rebellion (XR) proposes something quite different. They plan civil disobedience blockades at scale – and if they get sufficient support, to shut down cities. To stop the world and make us think. It’s kind of Occupy Wall St meets the Arab Spring and Tahir Square, but armed with the world’s top science and clear, practical and actionable solutions.

Civil Disobedience has a strong and powerful history in political and social change, including the civil rights, suffragette and peace movements and in bringing down many autocratic governments. In today’s political context, it may become a powerful, hopeful and emotionally engaging way for young people to respond to the despair and frustration they feel.  XR may be flooded with people joining them. As Greta Thunberg – the Swedish 15 year old who started the School Strike For Climate said: “We’re facing an immediate unprecedented crisis that has never been treated as a crisis and our leaders are all acting like children. We need to wake up and change everything.”

  1. The science is now crystal clear. This is an emergency. 

Civil disobedience is of course not new on climate change. At Greenpeace International in 1993 I helped organised a blockade of a key city intersection demanding the Dutch Government take action on climate change. It had little impact. Why might this be different?

This is not 1993. We have 25 years more evidence of the problem. We are also now living in the reality of a changed climate, with the process just beginning. To avoid catastrophic risk, the most recent IPCC report [2] said we have around a decade to have cut CO2 emissions by about 50%. To be clear : not a decade to start doing it, but a decade to have it done. Churchill’s “era of procrastination” is well and truly over.

  1. The solutions are ready.

We also have 25 years of progress in both developing and delivering solutions. In 2008, when I wrote with Professor Jorgen Randers, the One Degree War Plan, showing how we could slash emissions by 50% in five years, commencing in 2018, it was seen by many as economic fantasy.  Fast forward just 10 years and we see renewables blitzing fossil fuels in the market. The most recent annual report from Lazard on the levelized cost of energy concluded: “We have reached an inflection point where, in some cases, it is more cost effective to build and operate new alternative energy projects than to maintain existing conventional generation plants”. Consider that – it is often already cheaper (and getting cheaper every year) to build and operate newrenewable power plants than to just operateold (i.e. fully depreciated and paid for) fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. This is without strong policy on climate change – so imagine how fast we could move if we had it!

  1. The Extinction Rebellion is not alone.

This all comes on top of a growing awakening  that climate change is a real emergency. Groups like The Climate Mobilization (TCM) formed by people who also faced despair but decided that telling the truth and taking action was the right response. TCM has taken the climate emergency message across the USA getting cities and towns to formally declare an emergency. They also acted in the recent US elections, which saw unprecedented engagement by young people with strong action on climate change one of their key demands. One result is that new members of Congress, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are now fully engaged in the emergency mobilizing approach.

Meanwhile, continuing to build on the intellectual basis for all this, think tanks like Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration have put forward the clear scientific case for an emergency and, I think critically, defined what an emergency mobilisation is. They explain this is not just a verbal intent to accelerate urgency and action, but a practical organising basis with clear goals, most closely referenced by the industrial transformation and economic mobilisation we saw in WWII.

Considering this growing momentum, XR might just be the tipping point.

  1. Nothing else we are doing is working.

My final reason this could be different is the very uncomfortable fact we in the climate movement must face. We are failing. We have built huge and widespread global support for action across policy makers, business and the public. Never has there been such engagement on the climate issue. But success cannot be defined as support for potential action. Success is slashing emissions. And on that we are failing. There are countless good reasons and justifications for this – and it’s not like millions of us aren’t trying as hard as we can. But we are still failing. And time is up.

Of course, it’s possible that Extinction Rebellion will also fail. That a few protests will gather media attention then fade away. Perhaps their deep commitment to non-violence will be disrupted by outsiders or agent provocateurs. Perhaps they will be written off as the crazy fringe, with wacky ideas about the future of democracy. All possible.

But they may also succeed. They may make enough of us ask some questions: Am I part of the problem? Am I sitting back clearly recognising the scale of the crisis and the risk of collapse, maybe even extinction, but paralysed by either fear and despair? Or just not knowing what the hell else to do? Should I join them on the streets?  Is it time?

Extinction Rebellion may be the crazy fringe. Or they may be the only sane people in the room.

  1. Quote from Page 13 “What Lies Beneath”. Dunlop and Spratt. Published by Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration. This report provides an excellent overview of existential threat, the climate science and why we tend to the understatement of risk on climate. https://www.breakthroughonline.org.au/publications
2. IPCC 1.5 degree report http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/  Note these reductions are from 2010 levels, with the task actually greater given 2018 emissions are higher. And this is for a low level of certainty of achieving the 1.5 degree goal ( 40% – 60% likelihood ).

Press link for more: Paul Gilding.com

For more on the Extinction Rebellion

Watch this video then get active.

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y

We must be the change.

Big Oil & Big Coal v the planet is the fight of our lives #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateStrike #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol #nswpol #ClimateChange #TheDrum #QandA

By David Sirota

The world’s leading scientists issued a report warning of total planetary dystopia unless we take immediate steps to seriously reduce carbon emissions.

Then, oil and gas corporations dumped millions of dollars into the 2018 elections to defeat the major initiatives that could have slightly reduced fossil fuel use.

Though you may not know it from the cable TV coverage, this was one of the most significant – and the most terrifying – stories of the midterms.

For those who actually care about the survival of the human race, the key questions now should be obvious: is there any reason to hope that we will retreat from “drill baby drill” and enact a sane set of climate policies?

Or is our country – and, by extension, our species – just going to give up?

Before answering, it is worth reviewing exactly what happened over these last few months, because the election illustrates how little the fossil fuel industry is willing to concede in the face of a genuine crisis.

While the dominant media narrative has been about Democratic voters euphorically electing a House majority and yelling a primal scream at Donald Trump, the loudest shriek of defiance was the one bellowed by oil and gas CEOs.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we have only 12 years to ward off an ecological disaster, those oil and gas executives’ message to Planet Earth was unequivocal: drop dead.

That message was most explicit in Colorado, where a drilling and fracking boom is happening in the middle of fast-growing suburbs. With oil and gas companies seeking to put noxious derricks and rigs near population centers, local activists backed a ballot measure called Proposition 112 that aimed to make sure new fossil fuel infrastructure is set a bit farther away from schools, hospitals, residential neighborhoods and water sources.

The initiative was an angry response to a state government so awash in fossil fuel campaign cash that it has blocked legislation to merely allow regulators to prioritize the health and safety of residents when those regulators issue permits for drilling and fracking.

According to an industry analysis, Proposition 112 would have left much of the oil and gas reserves near Denver accessible for extraction, but yes, it is true – at a time when climate scientists say we must keep fossil fuel deposits in the ground, there was a chance the initiative would have stopped some extraction.

The oil and gas industry could have looked across a Colorado ravaged by climate-intensified wildfires, droughts and floods and decided to accept the modest measure, knowing that the initiative is the absolute minimum that is required at this perilous moment. Instead, fossil fuel companies did the opposite: they poured $40m into opposing Proposition 112 and spreading insidious agitprop.

Despite scientists warning that fracked natural gas threatens to worsen climate change, oil and gas operatives in the state promoted cartoonishly dishonest claims that burning fossil fuel “is cleaning our air and improving health”. As Colorado’s local media effectively erased the term “climate change” from its election coverage, the industry managed to defeat the measure by outspending its proponents 40-to-1. In the process, fossil fuel companies’ scorched-earth campaign was a clear statement that in the face of an environmental cataclysm, oil and gas moguls will not accept even a tiny reduction in their revenues.

In the Pacific north-west and the south-west, it was a similar tale.

In Washington State, petroleum giants funneled $25m into defeating a proposal to require polluters to pay some of the costs of the climate change havoc they are wreaking. The measure, which would have assessed a $15 fee for every ton of greenhouse gases they emit, was beaten with 56% of the vote, after the industry’s ad campaign featured criticism from a former state attorney general – who viewers weren’t told now works at Chevron’s law firm. In all, $13m of the funding against the measure came from BP – a company that simultaneously claims to unsuspecting consumers that it supports a carbon tax.

In sun-baked Arizona, you may have thought solar energy would be a fairly easy pitch. However, after the owner of the state’s major energy provider pourednearly $30m into the election, Arizonans soundly rejected a ballot initiative to force the utility to get more of its power from renewable sources.

Meanwhile, in a single California county, the fossil fuel industry spent a whopping $8m to defeat a citizens’ initiative to ban new drilling and fracking.

Realizing that they may have overreached, some fossil fuel industry spokespeople are now telling lawmakers that oil and gas companies really do want to work collaboratively on environmental issues. However, their behavior in the election proved that the industry is not operating in good faith. Oil and gas CEOs showed that they will gladly accelerate the climate crisis if doing so allows them to rake in more money.

And make no mistake about it: the industry’s roughly $100m in campaign spending this year was not just about one individual election cycle. It was a shock-and-awe spectacle designed to intimidate any prospective campaigns, organizations and movements that want to challenge the political supremacy of oil and gas – and some prominent Democrats in Washington seem to be cowering in fear.

Always nervous about the donor class and about electoral blowback from Republicans, some congressional Democrats now seem intent on avoiding any direct confrontation over climate change policy.

Indeed, days before the election, the Hill newspaper surveyed lawmakers and major environmental groups, and found that “Democrats are unlikely to pursue major climate change legislation if they win the House majority, despite a growing body of evidence suggesting time is running out to address the issue.”

As her own state was being incinerated by climate-intensified wildfires, the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, faced pressure for climate action from new lawmakers like New York Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – but Pelosi would only commit to reviving a moribund congressional committee to study the issue. The conflict-averse posture follows the party recently rescinding its policy of rejecting fossil fuel campaign cash, as well as Democratic Representative Vicente Gonzalez of climate-ravaged Texas setting up a new Oil & Gas Caucus to promote the “economic benefits of fully harnessing the country’s natural resources”.

Taken together, these developments – coupled with the Trump administration’s opposition to any serious climate policy – have left many voters and activists feeling despondent, even in the aftermath of a “blue wave” election. As former Bernie Sanders campaign aide Claire Sandberg tweeted: “Entire towns are burning to nothing in California. People are being incinerated alive in their cars attempting to flee. But a majority of Democrats still won’t reject fossil fuel money, and no one has put forward a climate plan that is remotely commensurate with the IPCC findings.”

And yet, amid the thick smoke of wildfires and industry propaganda, there is still reason to believe that our children are not guaranteed to live in a real-life version of Mad Max: Fury Road. Our fate is not – yet – sealed, as long as those who want humanity to survive pay attention to exactly what science, the fossil fuel industry and the political trends are telling us, and then act accordingly in the arenas where immediate progress is most likely.

First and foremost, there are now 14 states that have the trifecta of Democratic control of the governorship and both legislative chambers. Those include major fossil fuel producing states such as Colorado, New Mexico and California. Democratic leaders in these states cannot claim that climate inaction is a product of Republican intransigence – the Democrats in these locales have uninhibited power. And so if activists work to hold these local Democratic lawmakers accountable, there is a good chance they can force legislatures to enact emissions standards, renewable energy mandates and other environmental rules that will bolster the fight against climate change.

Similarly, states and cities collectively control trillions dollars of public pension money that can be marshaled for the battle. Shifting that cash out of oil and gas can at once provide more capital for renewable energy and drain fossil fuel companies of resources they need for their extraction binge.

Officials like New York comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, incoming Connecticut treasurer Shawn Wooden and North Carolina treasurer Dale Folwell may be unknown compared with the average backbench senator on the Sunday chat shows, but they and their colleagues who control these massive war chests have an enormous amount of divestment power that can both support the climate change fight, and boost investment returns for retirees. There’s a good chance that at least some of them can be spurred to action if they are no longer permitted to toil in obscurity, and instead face consistent grassroots pressure.

The courts are another arena where the climate fight seems to be accelerating. There, teenagers are mounting a landmark case arguing that the government’s refusal to restrict carbon emissions is endangering the next generation’s constitutional right to life, liberty and property. A federal judge also just blockedthe Keystone XL pipeline, saying that the Trump administration had improperly “discarded prior factual findings related to climate change”.

At the same time, state attorneys general are pursuing a lawsuit examining whether the oil industry deliberately buried science that showed the dangers of climate change. Those cases, which bring even more pressure on the industry, can be supported by concurrent hearings and subpoenas from the low-profile House science committee, which is expected to be chaired by Texas Democratic Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, who has called for more aggressive action on climate change.

So, considering both the election setbacks and opportunities, let’s go back to those original questions: is there reason to hope or are we just going to give up?

The answer is contingent on our ability to focus in an age of distraction.

Will those who truly care about the survival of humanity muster the discipline to occasionally look away from the Washington DC garbage fire and focus more activism on the state and local level?

Will a media that obsesses over Trump’s tweets find the will to more diligently cover a climate crisis that threatens the planet?

Will our political class behold the fossil fuel industry’s sociopathy and realize that we face an existential choice between profits and ecological survival?

In short, will we as a society finally start treating this emergency as an actual emergency?

If the answer is yes, then there is still reason to believe we are not doomed – but we better get to work, because there’s no time to spare.

  • David Sirota is a Guardian US columnist and an investigative journalist

Press link for more: The Guardian

The fight has just begun.

https://youtu.be/uzCxFPzdO0Y