Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Approaching the Endgame

 


The World Meteorological Organization maps out the heat of climate change in June. An exceptional and dangerous heatwave is baking the Northwestern USA and Western Canada in areas which are more synonymous with the cold. Temperatures have reached more than 45.0°C on consecutive days, with extremely warm nights in between. The destructive impacts of climate change have been anticipated by climate scientists for decades. The accelerating damages from overheating the biosphere have been shown to be even worse than we've expected, and it's happening faster and faster. The ClimateReanalyzer map above shows the massive heat that's currently sitting in a dome over western Canada and the United States. 

We may already be in a global heat state that's irreversible because of the feedback emissions from melting permafrost, the burning forests and emerging global droughts due to the heat already absorbed in the ocean and on the land over the last 150 years. It's a runaway climate scenario that has started with a vengeance. The challenge now is for the global communities to come to a resolution to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2030. Of course we're not going to be able to hit this benchmark, and the resulting decimation of our planet will mean that human civilization will not be able to survive.

The details of the Endgame are summarized in this blog which traces the work of the Global Commons Institute and the efforts by Aubrey Meyer to develop a framework for the global climate agreement which includes the necessary emission reductions required to keep the planet from heating up past 1.5C. Over the past 30 years we have not been able to accomplish this agreement primarily due to the intransigence of the US, China and Europe. This is due to the immense interference and obfuscation by the fossil fuel industry, which has leverage in all the major governments of the world.


Update 7/18/21: Is This the Beginning of Runaway Global Warming?

Update 7/19/21: The Amazon is Burning and the Earth is Dying Slowly

Update 7/20/21:  An Open Letter to All Climate Scientists

Update 7/22/21: Global Warming: From Scientific Warning to Corporate Casualty

Update 7/23/21: Forward to the Past

 


Monday, May 31, 2021

Road to Glasgow

 


2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) will begin on Nov 1 and end on Friday Nov 12 in the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow. As of right now in May, the preliminary Sessions of the subsidiary bodies are underway in a virtual platform. This continues the process of meetings and negotiations by the different representatives of countries that are trying to reach a commitment to the 1.5C scenario of the Paris Agreement in 2015. There was no formal framework agreed to in 2015, just an agreement to the cap of carbon emissions that would keep the global ecosystem from exceeding 1.5C by the immediate reduction of green house gas emissions.

The Paris Agreement was an exercise in coming to grips with the enormity of defining the scale of the global emissions reductions and the rapid shift required to get the world to zero carbon.

President Obama was able to formally enter the United States into the agreement under international law through executive authority, since it imposed no new legal obligations on the country. Trump disastrously pulled the US out of the treaty the minute he got into office, on June 1, 2017, and President Biden reinstated US participation on January 20 of this year.

The website for the May-June UNFCCC conference is here. Its purpose is to begin negotiations and hammer out agreements on key aspects of the talks in Glasgow. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty against climate change, negotiated and signed by 154 states at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992.


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Earth Day - US Policy



 VP HARRIS TALKS CLIMATE:  Earth Day 2021 on April 22 was marked by the Biden Administration presentation on streaming platforms as well as broadcast on the Discovery Channel.

This article is part of Covering Climate Now, a global consortium of news outlets strengthening coverage of the climate story. View the video at this link.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Science/Technology

 


The largest database on earth, Google, has now trained its sights on our planet, using its developed Google Earth platform to integrate information across time and place to show how we have RADICALLY changed this planet in a few centuries, and not for the better. The Google maps are now integrated with satellite databases to render the changes in our planet over a timescape of 35 years or so. Its very simple to jump to the navigation dashboard and view the resulting videos.

From Google: 

"As far as we know, Timelapse in Google Earth is the largest video on the planet, of our planet. And creating it required out-of-this-world collaboration. This work was possible because of the U.S. government and European Union’s commitments to open and accessible data. Not to mention their herculean efforts to launch rockets, rovers, satellites and astronauts into space in the spirit of knowledge and exploration. Timelapse in Google Earth simply wouldn’t have been possible without NASA and the United States Geological Survey’s Landsat program, the world’s first (and longest-running) civilian Earth observation program, and the European Union’s Copernicus program with its Sentinel satellites."

 From Tom's Guide:

"Try it for yourself, and you may not like what you see. Watching the Timelapse unfold is a pretty shocking experience, especially in areas such as the Amazon rainforest, where untold devastation is happening as land is deforested and repurposed for farming. Seeing just much the ice is melting in places like Antarctica and Alaska is similarly depressing.

Naturally, Google will be updating Timelapse every year from now on, and it promises to keep it updated for at least another decade. That way, we’ll be able to continue to see how our planet is changing, and what human beings are doing to continually mess the whole place up."

This new time-based planetary exploration takes the standard NASA time lapse to a new dimension, which shows the changes in nature as well as the expansion of urban sprawl. Previously, this time-lapse video crammed 20 years of Earth into just a few minutes. Google helped scientists learn a lot more about global warming and how the earth is changing.

Fortunately, with the new Biden administration preparing to address the climate issues with tremendous reserves of science analysis and highly structured data, there's a ray of hope that capitalist "business as usual" is no longer the prevailing norm. There's now hope for a livable future, with a focus on competent solutions to the horrific global problems that threaten the planet's existence.


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Ecocide

 


The idea of ecocide first gained vital worldwide consideration in 1972, when Swedish prime minister, Olof Palme, addressing the UN Stockholm Convention on the Human Setting, referred to as for a global crime of ecocide, primarily in response to US use of chemical weapons within the Vietnam Battle. Nevertheless, when the Rome Statute was ratified in 1998, creating the ICC, environmental crimes weren’t included. In 2010, lawyer and environmental campaigner Polly Higgins lobbied the UN to create a global crime of ecocide. Though the UN rejected her argument, in 2016 the ICC mentioned it might assess cases of environmental destruction as ‘crimes in opposition to humanity’.

Because the detrimental results of worldwide warming have intensified, so too has political momentum in favor of criminalizing ecosystem destruction. In 2019, island-states Vanuatu and the Maldives urged the ICC’s Meeting of States Events to recognize the crime of ecocide. This name was echoed by Swedish parliamentarians, who requested SEF to draft a definition of ecocide.

Philippe Sands, QC, an international law specialist, professor and author, went on a rare lockdown trip on Nov. 20, 2020 to attend a ceremony in Germany marking the 75th anniversary of the opening day of the Nuremberg trials.The commemoration was held in the historic wood-panelled courtroom 600 of the Palace of Justice, where the trials of Nazi leaders, which established the principles of international justice, were heard. Sands was invited by the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to the event, which opened with an address from Ben Ferencz, the last living Nuremburg prosecutor, now aged 100.

A documentary about Ben Ferencz and his astonishing 75-year career arc is available via streaming on Netflix, "Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz". He was part of the Allied troops in 1945 with the US Army that liberated the concentration camps. As part of his work with the Army, he participated in the horrific task of removing and identifying the skeletal corpses in these camps that he is still unable to talk about today.

Ferencz says the legacy of the trials remains to be seen. “Hopefully, it will recognise that the crimes described in the case were so horrendous that we cannot risk repeating them anywhere at any time.”

Despite the ongoing violence in the world, Phillipe Sands, who is co-chair of a panel drafting a legal definition of ecocide as a potential international crime, says “the ideas that came from [the trials] inspire us to look to the future”. “It’s a long game,” he says. “The revolution doesn’t happen overnight – we will get there.”

"Ecocide - Voices from Paradise"  is a video that successfully illustrates how willful ignorance continues the damage begun by an oil spill. Extras include a featurette on efforts to make ecocide an international crime. 

The cause of Ecocide has been taken up by Extinction Rebellion and also led by Jonathan Fuller's activism protests towards the reporting done by the BBC.  He wrote an article last year on what has changed in the media's reporting of the climate and ecological crisis. Jon Fuller's twitter feed can be found extensively on Twitter, and the Extinction Rebellion site is here.

 

Update 3/6/21: Indigenous groups sue French retailer over destruction of Amazon rainforest

Update 6/3/21: ‘Monumental Victory’: Shell Oil Ordered To Limit Emissions In Historic Climate Court Case

Update 6/23/21:   The Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide convened by our foundation has completed its deliberations.  The proposed definition of ecocide as a 5th crime under the Rome Statute is now available for states to consider - and for civil society to demand.

Update 7/27/21: A growing number of world leaders advocate making ecocide a crime before the International Criminal Court, to serve as a “moral line” for the planet.

Update 7/28/21: The push to make 'ecocide' an international crime takes a big step forward.

Update 7/29/21:  A global movement is rising to advocate for "ecocide" as a new crime before the International Criminal Court.




Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A New Day

 

January 6, 2021
Commentary from Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California

 


January 20, 2021  The color of womanpower!



Friday, December 18, 2020

A Twelfth Year - Bone Dry

 


Typically Southern California's wet winter weather sets in during the month of November. This year, there has been NO RAIN. It's an ugly portent for our future, with an ominous potential for even worse wildfires than we have seen this past year. Visions of water rationing and massive rate increases are now in the offing.

It's imperative for global cooperation to happen right now for potentially getting to zero carbon emissions. ""This decade is a moment of choice unlike any we have ever lived," says  Christiana Figueres, the architect of the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.  The daughter of Costa Rica's beloved President José Figueres Ferrer,  she shares how her father's unwillingness to lose the country he loved  taught her how stubborn optimism can catalyze action and change. With an  unshakeable determination to fight for the generations that will come  after us, Figueres describes what stubborn optimism is (and isn't) --  and urges everyone to envision and work for the future they want for  humanity."

The United Nations, United Kingdom and France were proud to co-host the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 on Nov. 1 - 12, in partnership with Chile and Italy. This is a monumental step on the road to the UK-hosted COP26 next November in Glasgow. The COP26 summit brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The COP26 Presidency will demonstrate the urgency and the opportunities of the journey towards a zero carbon economy and the power of international cooperation to address the gravest challenges the world faces.

Many countries are also still pouring money into high-CO2 activities as they strive to recover from the coronavirus crisis and recession. Guterres noted that G20 countries were spending 50% more in their stimulus packages on fossil fuels and CO2-intensive sectors than they were on low-CO2 energy.


The UK will stop funding overseas fossil fuel projects.“This is unacceptable,” Guterres told the online Climate Ambition Summit, co-hosted by the UN, the UK and France. “The trillions of dollars needed for Covid recovery is money that we are borrowing from future generations. This is a moral test. We cannot use these resources to lock in policies that burden future generations with a mountain of debt on a broken planet.”

More than 70 world leaders, civil society activists, business chiefs and city mayors attended the Climate Ambition Summit, which marks five years since the landmark Paris climate agreement.
 

The US awaits the re-entry to the Paris Climate Agreement in January, when the Biden administration plans to officially align its climate policies with the global agreement. Although California is not waiting for federal policy to take effect. It has positioned itself for leadership in climate policy. Other states are beginning to implement different aspects of getting off of fossil fuels. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced that over the next five years, the state’s $226 billion employee pension fund would divest fossil fuel stocks and shares of other companies that do not meet the fund’s new target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. This is a huge win in the divestment space.