Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘climate change’

Nature Spring & Climate

Dear Gabriel,

Check out our We Love Nature page to learn about animals at risk from climate change. It’s March and spring is in the air. Days are longer. Birds are migrating north to fill our yard with their cheerful trills. And out of our windows, we watch nature come back to life.

Here at EDF, we’ve decided to spend March celebrating all that nature gives us — and all that we’re fighting to protect. Will you join us?

ArcticFox_160

Kick off our “We Love Nature” month with us! Start by checking out our Warming and Wildlife slideshow. We all know climate change has put polar bears at risk — but it’s also threatening the rest of these beautiful, unique creatures.

As I read about the struggles of the Arctic fox, the sea turtle, and even the flamingo, I was reminded why I come to work at EDF every day — and why incredible supporters like you stand with us.

I hope you’ll click through to view our Warming and Wildlife slideshow. If you enjoy the show, please share it with your friends as well, and stay tuned for more nature love throughout the month!

Thank you for your activism and support,

Heather Shelby
Action Network Coordinator
Environmental Defense Fund

Cubs Swimming To Death

Dear Gabriel,

A few days ago, my colleague Heather sent you an online-photo gallery in honor of International Polar Bear Day, Wednesday, February 27th. One of the photos really broke my heart. It was this one here: a mother swimming with her cubs. It broke my heart because so many polar bear cubs die in long distance swims like this one — as many as 45% in one observational study.

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This photo was a vivid example to me of the real impact of climate change.

Please make an emergency donation of $15 or more today to support our work to save these threatened Polar Bears.

At an alarming rate, global warming is melting the Arctic sea ice that polar bears depend on to hunt for food … threatening this noble Arctic creature with extinction.

Here are the sobering facts:

According to experts, two-thirds of the world’s polar bear populations could be lost by mid-century as sea ice continues to retreat.

Less Arctic sea ice forced 40% more Alaskan polar bear moms to den on land — away from food sources.

As sea ice disappears, bear mortality rises. In the Beaufort Sea region about 1/3 fewer polar bear cubs are surviving their first year of life.

The last ten years (2004 to 2013) have seen the ten lowest January sea ice extents (total area covered by sea ice) on the record.

Gabriel, we we urgently need your help to continue the fight to avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change and save irreplaceable wildlife and their habitats.

Donate as little as $15 today to support our work will help make sure that our beloved wildlife can continue to be found in the wild, and NOT just in nature photographs.

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Emily Stevenson
Manager, Online Membership
Environmental Defense Fund

Hurricanes & Global Warming

We Are Not Powerless to Confront Climate Change
by Amy Goodman
From Nation of Change
1 November 2012

Millions of victims of Superstorm Sandy remain without power, but they are not powerless to do something about climate change. The media consistently fail to make the link between extreme weather and global warming. Through this catastrophe, people are increasingly realizing that our climate has changed, and the consequences are dire.

One meteorologist who defies the norm is Dr. Jeff Masters, who founded the weather blog Weather Underground. As Sandy bore down on the East Coast, I asked Masters what impact climate change was having on hurricanes. He said: “Whenever you add more heat to the oceans, you’ve got more energy for destruction. Hurricanes … pull heat out of the ocean, convert it to the kinetic energy of their winds.”

Masters’ blog became so popular, it was purchased by The Weather Channel. As Sandy moved up the coast, Masters continued with our interview: “When you do heat the oceans up more, you extend the length of hurricane season. And there’s been ample evidence over the last decade or so that hurricane season is getting longer—starts earlier, ends later. You’re more likely to have this sort of situation where a late-October storm meets up with a regular winter low-pressure system and gives us this ridiculous combination of a nor’easter and a hurricane that comes ashore, bringing all kinds of destructive effects.”

Mitt Romney must rue that line in his Republican National Convention speech, days after Hurricane Isaac narrowly missed hitting Tampa, Fla., and the convention, when he quipped: “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.” Romney drew a big laugh from those gathered to nominate him. No one is laughing now. Sandy’s U.S. death toll has reached 50, with 8 million without power. Initial estimates put the cost of the damage at tens of billions of dollars.

Romney’s latest position on climate change is no surprise, since it conforms with his consistent pivot to the right, away from his previously held views. As recently as 2007, he told CNBC’s “Kudlow and Company,” “But no question about one thing—it’s getting warmer, and [there are] a lot of good reasons for us to use less energy, to use it more efficiently and to develop sources here in this country that could allow us to be more independent of foreign sources.”

We also should not let President Barack Obama off the hook. Recall the presidential debates, where he continually boasted of his fossil-fuel credentials. “Oil production is up, natural gas production is up,” he said at Hofstra, during the second debate. “I’m all for pipelines. I’m all for oil production.” In none of the three presidential debates was climate change mentioned, even once, not by the major-party presidential candidates and not by the moderators.

Masters partially attributes the lack of discussion to the power of the fossil-fuel lobby: “You’re talking about the oil and gas industry … about the entire basis of the industrialized economy. With these sorts of storms, people are going to wise up at some point and say: ‘Hey, what’s going on? Maybe we shouldn’t mess with the very forces that enable us to live on the planet Earth.’ … We’ve got to get self-preservation in our minds pretty soon, or this is just the start of things, Here we are in the year 2012; what’s going to be happening in 2030 if we’re already seeing storms like this?”

Read entire Op-Ed at Nation of Change

Climate Change Science

From Nation of Change and IPS News
by Stephen Leahy
5 May 2012

Standing Up for the Planet and the Future

There’s been a general perception that climate change is a future problem but with all the extreme weather disasters and weather records the public is being to realise that climate change is here, says Jamie Henn, communications director for 350.org, a U.S.-based environmental group.

“Recent opinion surveys show the more than 60 percent of the U.S. public are connecting extreme weather to climate change,” Henn told IPS.

The U.S. public is not wrong, say scientists.

“All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be,” Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, told IPS previously.

Last year the U.S. endured 14 separate billion-dollar-plus weather disasters including flooding, hurricanes and tornados.

This year, most of the U.S. and Canada experienced summer in winter with record-shattering heat waves in March. More than 15,000 temperature records were broken in the U.S. which had its first billion-dollar weather disaster of the year. In most places, the spring month of April was colder than March.

“What kind of future are we leaving for our children if we keep putting more carbon into the atmosphere?” asks Nix.

As a former scientist who used to work for the oil industry in Canada’s tar sands, he has a pretty good idea of what’s coming unless fossil fuels are phased out. Catastrophic consequences including everything from droughts, floods, forest fires, food shortages, to increases in tropical diseases and political chaos.

“Politicians are not leading. Corporations are only interested in quick profits. They are the real radicals in our society,” says Nix. This is a reference to a high-level Canadian official who accused environmentalists of having a “radical ideological agenda” in an open letter.

“There is no one left to protect the future for our children but the public,” says Nix.

Every day, six long trains each carrying up to 10,000 tonnes of coal from the U.S. and British Columbia (BC) travel the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail line to the Westshore Coal Terminal at Delta, BC just north of the U.S. border. It is the busiest coal export port in North America.

The climate-heating carbon in the coal exported every year is equivalent to the annual emissions for the entire province of BC of 4.5 million people and many energy-intense industries like aluminium smelting and mining, says Nix.

“We have to stop burning coal. Leading scientists like James Hansen have made that clear,” he said.

Nix and other members of British Columbians for Climate Action have asked to meet with government officials to work out a plan to phase out coal exports. Their requests have been ignored. Now they have asked U.S. billionaire Warren Buffet to take action. His company Berkshire Hathaway Inc owns BNSF, one of the largest freight networks in North America.

Buffet has previously cancelled plans to build new coal-fired plants in the U.S. In a letter to Buffet, British Columbians for Climate Action write, “…when it comes to climate change it appears that other people are doing all the suffering while you profit from the very causes of the problem.”

On Saturday, 23-year-old Brandon Cormier wants to inform her local residents in the small Canadian town of Orangeville, Ontario about one of the sources of the climate change problem, Canada’s huge tar sands operation that boils oil out sands under its northern forests.

Cormier is organizing a demo-fest event as part of International Stop the Tar Sands Day*, which is also May 5.

“I am hoping to make local people more aware of climate change, and that the tar sands are a big contributor,” says Cormier, who has never done anything like this.

International Stop the Tar Sands Day has been held annually since 2010 with events in 50 cities around the world last year. It involves playful demonstration-festivals involving music, dancing, costumes, handing out flowers and postcards as part of an awareness-raising effort.

The tar sands operations in the province of Alberta supply the US with more than 2.4 million barrels of heavy oil a day. Considered “dirty oil” because requires large amounts of natural gas and clean water to extract it from the ground, it is under growing international pressure as a major source of carbon emissions and over destruction of thousands of kilometers of forests and wetlands.

“Not many people I know want to help me with this. They think that it is silly being so far away (from Alberta)….But I won’t let that discourage me. It’s everyone’s planet.”

Read entire report at Nation of Change.

Environmental Warrior

From Nation of Change and Yes! Magazine
by Madeline Ostrander

The Biggest Fight of Our Time

As one of the best-known writers on the world’s most dire environmental problem, climate change, Bill McKibben has long walked the razor’s edge between hope and fear. In 2010, he published Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, a sobering account of what climate change has already unleashed—the ways in which the places we live, the water, weather, seasons, ecosystems, and oceans are changing irrevocably. McKibben also founded 350.org, one of history’s largest and most ambitious political movements, uniting people around the world to fight climate change.

In this interview, YES! got personal with McKibben: Where does he find hope? What role does faith play for McKibben, a longtime Methodist Sunday school teacher? How does small-town Vermont, where the writer now lives, shape his ideas and activism? And what’s the best advice for anyone feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of what McKibben calls “the biggest fight of our time”—the fight to save the planet?

Madeline Ostrander interviewed Bill McKibben for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions for a just and sustainable world. Madeline is senior editor at YES!

Go to Nation of Change or Yes! Magazine to watch video.

Climate Change Apartheid

From Nation of Change by Amy Goodman
December 14, 2011

Climate Apartheid

“You’ve been negotiating all my life,” Anjali Appadurai told the plenary session of the U.N.‘s 17th “Conference of Parties,” or COP 17, the official title of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa. Appadurai, a student at the ecologically focused College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, addressed the plenary as part of the youth delegation. She continued: “In that time, you’ve failed to meet pledges, you’ve missed targets, and you’ve broken promises. But you’ve heard this all before.”

After she finished her address, she moved to the side of the podium, off microphone, and in a manner familiar to anyone who has attended an Occupy protest, shouted into the vast hall of staid diplomats, “Mic check!” A crowd of young people stood up, and the call-and-response began:

Appadurai: “Equity now!”

Crowd: “Equity now!”

Appadurai: “You’ve run out of excuses!”

Crowd: “You’ve run out of excuses!”

Appadurai: “We’re running out of time!”

Crowd: “We’re running out of time!”

Appadurai: “Get it done!”

Crowd: “Get it done!”

That was Friday, at the official closing plenary session of COP 17. The negotiations were extended, virtually nonstop, through Sunday, in hopes of avoiding complete failure. At issue were arguments over words and phrases—for instance, the replacement of “legal agreement” with “an agreed outcome with legal force,” which is said to have won over India to the Durban Platform.

The countries in attendance agreed to a schedule that would lead to an agreement by 2015, which would commit all countries to reduce emissions starting no sooner than 2020, eight years into the future.

“Eight years from now is a death sentence on Africa,” Nigerian environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey, chairperson of Friends of the Earth International, told me. “For every one-degree Celsius change in temperature, Africa is impacted at a heightened level.” He lays out the extent of the immediate threats in his new book about Africa, “To Cook a Continent.”

Bassey is one among many concerned with the profound lack of ambition embodied in the Durban Platform, which delays actual, legally binding reductions in emissions until 2020 at the earliest, whereas scientists globally are in overwhelming agreement: The stated goal of limiting average global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) will soon be impossible to achieve. The International Energy Agency, in its annual World Energy Outlook released in November, predicted “cumulative CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions over the next 25 years amount to three-quarters of the total from the past 110 years, leading to a long-term average temperature rise of 3.5 [degrees] C.”

Despite optimistic pronouncements to the contrary, many believe the Kyoto Protocol died in Durban. Pablo Solon, the former Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations and former chief climate negotiator for that poor country, now calls Kyoto a “zombie agreement,” staggering forward for another five or seven years, but without force or impact. On the day after the talks concluded, Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent announced that Canada was formally withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol. Expected to follow are Russia and Japan, the very nation where the 1997 meeting was held that gives the Kyoto Protocol its name.

The largest polluter in world history, the United States, never ratified the Kyoto Protocol and remains defiant. Both Bassey and Solon refer to the outcome of Durban as a form of “climate apartheid.”

Despite the pledges by President Barack Obama to restore the United States to a position of leadership on the issue of climate change, the trajectory from Copenhagen in 2009, to Cancun in 2010, and, now, to Durban reinforces the statement made by then-President George H.W. Bush prior to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, the forerunner to the Kyoto Protocol, when he said, “The American way of life is not up for negotiation.”

The “American way of life” can be measured in per capita emissions of carbon. In the U.S., on average, about 20 metric tons of CO2 is released into the atmosphere annually, one of the top 10 on the planet. Hence, a popular sticker in Durban read “Stop CO2lonialism.”

Read Entire Editorial at Nation of Change

Climate Coughing To Death

From Avaaz

Dear Friends,

Our oceans are dying, our air changing, and our forests and grasslands turning to deserts. From fish and plants to wildlife to human beings, we are killing the planet that sustains us, and fast. There is one single greatest cause of this destruction of the natural world — climate change, and in the next 48 hours, we have a chance to stop it.

The UN treaty on climate change — our best hope for action — expires next year, but a dirty and greedy US-led coalition of oil-captured countries is trying to kill it forever. It’s staggeringly difficult to believe, but they are trading short term profits for the survival of our natural world.

The EU, Brazil and China are all on the fence — they are not slaves to oil companies the way the US is, but they need to hear a massive call to action from people before they really lead financially and politically to save the UN treaty. The world is gathered at the climate summit for the next 48 hours to make the big decision. Let’s send our leaders a massive call to stand up to big oil and save the planet — an Avaaz team at the summit will deliver our call directly:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/the_planet_is_dying_us_2/?vl

Things are becoming desperate — all over our planet extreme weather continues to smash records, leaving millions homeless and without food or shelter. We’re rapidly reaching our point of no return to stop runaway climate change — we only have until 2015 to start making drastic reductions to our carbon pollution.

Yet despite this very real urgency, the world has failed to mobilise against the fossil fuel captured democracy of the US. Not only content with wrecking the Copenhagen talks and the Kyoto protocol, they are now building a coalition of climate treaty killers to put the final nail in the coffin of international negotiations in Africa.

Our only hope to turn things around lies with Europe, Brazil and China — they can make a deal happen, but they need to do it together, and that’s where we come in. Europe is tired, it’s fought long and hard on climate and needs a public boost. China has already agreed to binding commitments, is sensitive to its international reputation, and could lead further if we give it an encouraging push. And Brazil is hosting next year’s earth summit — making them eager to set the world up for climate success. Let’s build a giant global call to bring our champions together and build a green dream team. Sign the petition now and forward this email:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/the_planet_is_dying_us_2/?vl

The crazy focus on short term profits that motivates countries to stall and scuttle action on a climate crisis that literally threatens the survival of all of us cannot be tolerated. Fortunately, our movement has the power to intervene in this process and demand change. Let’s stand together and inspire others to stand with us for a safer, more humane world.

With hope and determination,

Luis, Emma, Ricken, Iain, Antonia, Morgan, Dalia, Pascal and the rest of the Avaaz team

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