Rather worrying news about those mysterious sink holes that have appeared in Siberia. It now appears they were giant methane releases - long forecast by climate change scientists as a likely positive feedback occurrence as permafrost in Siberia melted and released trapped methane. Worrying because methane is a 20 times more potent climate change gas than CO2 because it is more efficient at trapping radiation.
On September 20, 2014, Bill McKibben’s 350.org and a host of other Green NGOs are calling for a massive march through New York City to demand “the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet. A world safe from the ravages of climate change. A world with good jobs, clean air, and healthy communities for everyone.”
As the Arctic ice melt accelerates due to climate change it could release more than 1 trillion pieces of plastic into the ocean over the next decade, possibly posing a major threat to marine life, a new scientific report said. The report, titled “Global Warming Releases Microplastic Legacy Frozen in Arctic Sea Ice,” said ice in some remote locations contains at least twice as much plastic as previously reported areas of surface water such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an area of plastic waste estimated to be bigger than the state of Texas.
Barack Obama, scientists and campaigners have all looked at how to engage Americans more powerfully on the environment. Now researchers have come up with one critical piece of advice: do say "global warming", don't say "climate change".
The climate is changing before our eyes. In Berkeley, we’ve only had 5 inches of rain in a year and the weather is nothing like it was just 25 years ago when I moved here. And everywhere else, we’re seeing extreme weather events — burning heat, bitter cold, and violent storms. Although everyone notices and almost everyone realizes these changes are related to human CO2 emissions, we continue with business as usual. Climate chaos risks a mass extinction, crop failure, starvation, and social collapse, yet there is no sense of a popular uprising or outpouring of resistance like we briefly experienced during Occupy.
As 2014 starts off with a continuation of the extreme weather events that ended 2013 its time that political & media commentators realised the problem isn't inadequate preparation for such disasters but the failure to move beyond the logic of recovery through growth that is fuelling run away climate change. No single storm can be blamed on this process but the prediction is that we will see more and more extreme events.
British scientist John Nissen, chairman of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (of which Wadhams is a member), suggests that if the summer sea ice loss passes “the point of no return,” and “catastrophic Arctic methane feedbacks” kick in, we’ll be in an “instant planetary emergency.”
Roughly speaking, there are four schools of thought about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avert climate catastrophe. The consumer behavior school wants individuals to travel less, recycle more, eat locally-grown food and have fewer babies. The economic reform school proposes taxes, trading schemes, and sometimes regulations. The technology substitution school calls for new kinds of equipment. And the social change school advocates changes in the dominant system of producing and distributing material goods.
We've all seen how terrible things can get when science fiction tries to tackle environmental issues. There's The Day After Tomorrow, with its super ice-hurricanes, and The Host, starring fish monsters created by pollution. Still, there's no reason you can't have disaster porn and accurate representations of climate change at the same time. Here's how.
Well, I think there is a very deep denialism in the environmental movement among the Big Green groups. And to be very honest with you, I think it’s been more damaging than the right-wing denialism in terms of how much ground we’ve lost. Because it has steered us in directions that have yielded very poor results. I think if we look at the track record of Kyoto, of the UN Clean Development Mechanism, the European Union’s emissions trading scheme – we now have close to a decade that we can measure these schemes against, and it’s disastrous. Not only are emissions up, but you have no end of scams to point to, which gives fodder to the right.
It’s not even enough when you can mobilize millions of people in the streets to shout “We won’t pay for your crisis.” Because let’s face it – we’ve seen massive mobilizations against austerity in Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Britain. We’ve occupied Wall Street and Bay Street and countless other streets. And yet the attacks keep coming.
Talk to someone who rejects the conclusions of climate science and you’ll likely hear some variation of the following: “That’s all based on models, and you can make a model say anything you want.” Often, they'll suggest the models don't even have a solid foundation of data to work with—garbage in, garbage out, as the old programming adage goes. But how many of us (anywhere on the opinion spectrum) really know enough about what goes into a climate model to judge what comes out?
Wildlife biologist Neil Dawe says he wouldn't be surprised if the generation after him witnesses the extinction of humanity. All around him, even in a place as beautiful as the Little Qualicum River estuary, his office for 30 years as a biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service, he sees the unravelling of "the web of life." "It's happening very quickly," he says.
Several strands of green thinking maintain that capitalism is incapable of a sustainable relationship with non-human nature because, as an economic system, capitalism has a growth imperative while the earth is finite. One finds versions of this argument in the literature of eco-socialism, deep ecology, eco-anarchism, and even among many mainstream greens who, though typically declining to actually name the economic system, are fixated on the dangers of “growth.”
Before we get teary eyed with joy or scoff with derision, we should take a closer look at President Obama’s June 25 speech on climate change, and set it within the context of his five years in power. This is a position he himself argued for during his speech when he said that we need to “be more concerned with the judgment of posterity” than short–term political considerations.
In a previous post I had noted how the position of climate deniers was becoming more and more untenable. Now, the speech by President Obama seems to have moved things forward quite a bit: many people seem to be "feeling the heat," almost literally.