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The Kids Might Save Us All

“We want to save the planet for our children, and our children’s children, and all future generations,” the author writes. “But here’s the thing: The children might just end up saving us all.” (Photo: Lorie Shaull/flickr/cc)

By Norah Vawter | Common Dreams

I became involved in climate advocacy when I realized how dramatically my son’s life would be affected by climate change if we don’t do anything.

He was three years old when I started to imagine what his world would be like when he graduates from school, when he gets his first job, when he wants to start a family, and when he’s ready to retire. In different ways, the impacts of climate change will affect all of these moments.

Climate change will disproportionately affect my kid’s generation, and all future generations. And that terrifies me.

I want my little boy to inherit a beautiful, healthy world — not just to grow up in, but also to grow old in. There are a lot of other issues I care about, but if we don’t address climate change, and soon, the rest won’t matter.

At first I felt helpless. I didn’t know what to do with my outrage and my worries. But I was lucky enough to meet like-minded individuals who were already fighting for a healthy planet and a hopeful future for humanity. Together we founded a local climate advocacy group and organized our first annual climate rally in Northern Virginia.

Many if not all climate activists share my motivation: We want to save the planet for our children, and our children’s children, and all future generations. But here’s the thing: The children might just end up saving us all.

Children, teens, and young adults are becoming influential leaders in the climate movement. We might be fighting for them. But they’re fighting for themselves, too.

They aren’t just marching — they’re affecting the political process in many different ways. Just as the March for Our Lives and other youth organizations have become a big deal in the larger gun control movement, youth climate organizations have a huge voice and ambitious reach in the climate movement as a whole.

For 13 years, YOUNGO, an international network of youth organizations, has had an official voice at U.N. climate conferences and hosted an annual “Conference of Youth.”

The Sunrise Movement, the primary activist group leading the call for a Green New Deal, was founded by 20-somethings seeking to organize young people all over the country.

Co-founder Varshini Prakash sums up their determination and optimism: “My nightmares are full of starving children and land that is too sick to bear food,” she said. “But my dreams are also full of a rising tide of people who see the world for what it is, people who see the greed and selfishness of wealthy men, of fossil-fuel billionaires who plunder our earth for profit.”

Zero Hour, a group that organized the Youth Climate March in D.C. and sister marches around the country last July, is led by teenagers. It was founded by Jamie Margolin when she was just 16. Now 17, she’s one of the most influential climate activists in the country.

These young people aren’t just taking to the streets, but they’re also taking on the legal system.

In Juliana v. United States, youth plaintiffs aged 11 to 20 are suing the U.S. government for failing to protect public resources — that is, the planet we all share — and therefore violating the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This lawsuit has inspired similar legal action at the state level, in all 50 states.

When my son is a teenager, I hope that he’s as politically and socially engaged as these young activists. I can’t think of better role models for him. I want my kid to care desperately about his future, to speak up loudly and frequently, to act deliberately, to work hard, and to create a better reality.

I look forward to working alongside him.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. The article originally appeared on OtherWords.org.

About the Author

 

Norah Vawter is a freelance writer living in Northern Virginia.




A Massive Restoration of the World’s Forests Would Cancel Out 10 Years of CO2 Emissions

Image Credit: Waking Times

By Elias Marat | Waking Times

As the Earth contends with degrading ecological conditions and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, a new study suggests that a massive global effort to replenish forests would be capable of absorbing a decade’s worth of carbon dioxide emissions.

According to new data, the Earth has room for about 1.2 trillion additional trees that can be planted in abandoned lots, woodlands and parks across the globe.

ETH Zurich ecologist Thomas Crowther estimates that such a huge reforestation push would be the most effective form of tackling our climate woes, rather than pinning our hopes on a meatless diet or renewable energy sources such as wind turbines alone.

In Crowther’s research, his lab used recent data from the Global Forest Biodiversity Initiative to gain an accurate understanding of the current global tree count. The initiative relies on the efforts of ground-level volunteers, 1.2 million monitoring locations across the globe, satellite imagery, as well as tens of thousands of soil samples.

The information, paired with machine learning and artificial intelligence, allowed Crowther’s lab to identify a figure of three trillion trees on Earth – more than seven times the amount estimated by NASA.

It also gave Crowther’s team the ability to predict how many trees could feasibly be planted across the globe.

In a description of his presentation at a recent American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Washington, D.C., Crowther wrote:

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Greta Thunberg: In Response to Lies and Hate, Let Me Make Some Things Clear About My Climate Strike

“If everyone listened to the scientists and the facts that I constantly refer to—then no one would have to listen to me or any of the other hundreds of thousands of school children on strike for the climate across the world. Then we could all go back to school.” ~ Greta Thunberg

By Greta Thunberg | Common Dreams

“I am just a messenger, and yet I get all this hate,” writes Thunberg. “I am not saying anything new, I am just saying what scientists have repeatedly said for decades. And I agree with you, I’m too young to do this. We children shouldn’t have to do this. But since almost no one is doing anything, and our very future is at risk, we feel like we have to continue.” (Photo: @GretaThunberg)

Common Dream Editor’s note: Originally posted to Facebook, the following is a statement from 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg as a response to circulating “rumors and lies” as well as “enormous amounts of hate” directed at her as a result of her high-profile role inspiring the growing youth-led climate strike movement. It appears at Common Dreams, only very slightly edited, with permission of the author.

Recently I’ve seen many rumors circulating about me and enormous amounts of hate. This is no surprise to me. I know that since most people are not aware of the full meaning of the climate crisis (which is understandable since it has never been treated as a crisis) a school strike for the climate would seem very strange to people in general.

So let me make some things clear about my school strike.

In May 2018 I was one of the winners in a writing competition about the environment held by Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish newspaper. I got my article published and some people contacted me, among others was Bo Thorén from Fossil Free Dalsland. He had some kind of group with people, especially youth, who wanted to do something about the climate crisis.

I had a few phone meetings with other activists. The purpose was to come up with ideas of new projects that would bring attention to the climate crisis. Bo had a few ideas of things we could do. Everything from marches to a loose idea of some kind of a school strike (that school children would do something on the schoolyards or in the classrooms). That idea was inspired by the Parkland Students, who had refused to go to school after the school shootings.

I liked the idea of a school strike. So I developed that idea and tried to get the other young people to join me, but no one was really interested. They thought that a Swedish version of the Zero Hour march was going to have a bigger impact. So I went on planning the school strike all by myself and after that I didn’t participate in any more meetings.

When I told my parents about my plans they weren’t very fond of it. They did not support the idea of school striking and they said that if I were to do this I would have to do it completely by myself and with no support from them.

On August 20, 2018 I sat down outside the Swedish Parliament. I handed out fliers with a long list of facts about the climate crisis and explanations on why I was striking. The first thing I did was to post on Twitter and Instagram what I was doing and it soon went viral. Then journalists and newspapers started to come. A Swedish entrepreneur and business man active in the climate movement, Ingmar Rentzhog, was among the first to arrive. He spoke with me and took pictures that he posted on Facebook. That was the first time I had ever met or spoken with him. I had not communicated or encountered with him ever before.

Many people love to spread rumors saying that I have people “behind me” or that I’m being “paid” or “used” to do what I’m doing. But there is no one “behind” me except for myself. My parents were as far from climate activists as possible before I made them aware of the situation.

I am not part of any organization. I sometimes support and cooperate with several NGOs that work with the climate and environment. But I am absolutely independent and I only represent myself. And I do what I do completely for free, I have not received any money or any promise of future payments in any form at all. And nor has anyone linked to me or my family done so.

And of course it will stay this way. I have not met one single climate activist who is fighting for the climate for money. That idea is completely absurd.

Furthermore, I only travel with permission from my school and my parents pay for tickets and accommodations.

My family has written a book together about our family and how me and my sister Beata have influenced my parents way of thinking and seeing the world, especially when it comes to the climate. And about our diagnoses. That book was due to be released in May. But since there was a major disagreement with the book company, we ended up changing to a new publisher and so the book was released in August instead.

Before the book was released my parents made it clear that their possible profits from the book, “Scener ur hjärtat,” will be going to eight different charities working with environment, children with diagnoses, and animal rights.

And yes, I write my own speeches. But since I know that what I say is going to reach many, many people I often ask for input. I also have a few scientists that I frequently ask for help on how to express certain complicated matters. I want everything to be absolutely correct so that I don’t spread incorrect facts, or things that can be misunderstood.

Some people mock me for my diagnosis. But Asperger is not a disease, it’s a gift. People also say that since I have Asperger I couldn’t possibly have put myself in this position. But that’s exactly why I did this. Because if I would have been “normal” and social I would have organized myself in an organisation, or started an organisation by myself. But since I am not that good at socializing I did this instead. I was so frustrated that nothing was being done about the climate crisis and I felt like I had to do something, anything. And sometimes NOT doing things—like just sitting down outside the parliament—speaks much louder than doing things. Just like a whisper sometimes is louder than shouting.

Also there is one complaint that I “sound and write like an adult.” And to that I can only say; don’t you think that a 16-year old can speak for herself? There’s also some people who say that I oversimplify things. For example when I say that “the climate crisis is a black and white issue”; “we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases”; and “I want you to panic.” But that I only say because it’s true. Yes, the climate crisis is the most complex issue that we have ever faced and it’s going to take everything from our part to “stop it.” But the solution is black and white; we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Because either we limit the warming to 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels, or we don’t. Either we reach a tipping point where we start a chain reaction with events way beyond human control, or we don’t. Either we go on as a civilization, or we don’t. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival.

And when I say that I want you to panic I mean that we need to treat the crisis as a crisis. When your house is on fire you don’t sit down and talk about how nice you can rebuild it once you put out the fire. If your house is on fire you run outside and make sure that everyone is out while you call the fire department. That requires some level of panic.

There is one other argument that I can’t do anything about. And that is the fact that I’m “just a child and we shouldn’t be listening to children.” But that is easily fixed—just start to listen to the rock solid science instead. Because if everyone listened to the scientists and the facts that I constantly refer to—then no one would have to listen to me or any of the other hundreds of thousands of school children on strike for the climate across the world. Then we could all go back to school.

I am just a messenger, and yet I get all this hate. I am not saying anything new, I am just saying what scientists have repeatedly said for decades. And I agree with you, I’m too young to do this. We children shouldn’t have to do this. But since almost no one is doing anything, and our very future is at risk, we feel like we have to continue.

And if you have any other concern or doubt about me, then you can listen to my TED talk here (or below), in which I talk about how my interest for the climate and environment began.

And thank you everyone for your kind support!

It brings me hope.


Watch Thunberg’s full TED Talk:


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The Green New Deal is Not Enough: A Better World Is Possible

 

By Michael Galant | Common Dreams

The Green New Deal is the most ambitious climate plan in Congress.

Developed through years of grassroots activism and propelled to fame by the rising star of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the proposal has attracted the support of more than 40 members of Congress, Senators from Sanders to Booker, and even 64% of registered Republican voters.

While the details remain unclear, the general outline – a comprehensive, state-led transition to 100% renewable energy, founded on green jobs and economic justice – is both popular and necessary. Without a dramatic overhaul of the American economy, averting climate change will be impossible.

But domestic policies won’t be enough.

From the birth of neoliberalism in the 70’s through the rapid economic globalization of the 90’s, the ruling parties of the Global North have spent decades constructing a global economic system rigged in the interests of capital.

Placing short-term profits for the rich and powerful over the long-term wellbeing of people and planet, this system is specifically designed to undermine national programs like the Green New Deal.

Under this system, capital and corporations (but not people) are allowed to cross borders at will. Powerless to the threat of abandonment, even well-meaning governments are forced to cater to capital’s whims, slashing environmental and labor regulations in the hopes of attracting investment. The “global race to the bottom” begins.

Under this system, countries like the United States can feign environmental progress by outsourcing their pollution to the Global South. America regulates a dirty industry. The industry, unfettered by the corporate-friendly global governance that America helped build, moves to a new country and continues to pollute freely. America imports its products and blames the South.

Under this system, Southern nations that try to shield themselves from the whims of the global market and develop self-sufficient, local economies are punished. Institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank wield their financial weight like a battering ram against protections, demanding cheap goods for export to the North. In the food system, this means forcing small-scale, sustainable farmers to abandon their land to environmentally untenable industrial cash crops.

Under this system, the global elite have exclusive access to shady networks of shell companies and tax havens. Globally, an estimated $32 trillion sits untouched in tax havens. That’s over $250 billion in lost tax revenue for programs like the Green New Deal.

Under this system, corporations can even sue national governments for regulating them. Through the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism built into many “free trade” agreements, countries enacting legitimate environmental regulations risk being forced to pay billions in restitution by an opaque, corporate-dominated international court. Ecuador is currently facing just such litigation for ordering Chevron to pay compensation after dumping “billions of gallons of toxic water and [digging] hundreds of open-air oil sludge pits in Ecuador’s Amazon, poisoning the communities of some 30,000 Amazon residents.”

And under this system, when neoliberal policies reach their inevitably disastrous conclusion, the rich seize on the ensuing crises to further the neoliberal agenda, while right-wing demagogues rise to power scapegoating their victims.

At its root, climate change is a consequence of the power of capital. Neoliberal globalization is one of the greatest power grabs in history.

Domestic policies like the Green New Deal, however necessary, are insufficient. To prevent global climate collapse and the emergent right-wing authoritarianism that lurks in its wings, the global economy must be radically restructured.

Restrict the movement of corporations and capital. End ISDS. Renegotiate “free trade” agreements. Stop tax havens. Dismantle and rebuild alternatives to the WTO, IMF, and World Bank. Reform and strengthen the UN. Empower national governments to regulate corporate interests. Build self-sufficient local economies.

Though the alter-globalization movement that once drew 40,000 to the streets of Seattle to protest the WTO is weaker today than it was 20 years ago, there is much to be learned from its example. In 2004, members of this movement drafted a vision of a global economic system that works for both people and planet. The subtitle of that prescient manifesto reads: “A better world is possible.”

It still it is. But only if we look beyond our borders and build a truly global movement to fight for it.


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The Youth Have Seen Enough

Greta Thunberg from Sweden. Jonne Sippola / Greenpeace

By Rex Weyler | EcoWatch

The world’s youth have finally seen and heard enough from the deplorable political process, from compromised delegates, corrupted political appointees, and criminal corporations who sabotage these critical international discussions.

The truth of our ecological crisis is not difficult to see. Fragile ecosystems are unraveling all around us. We have been warned by scientists for two centuries: by the 1972 “Limits to Growth” study, William Catton’s 1980 book Overshoot, by reliable scientists, and by millions of ecology activists. We were warned by the 2009 Nature article, “Planetary Boundaries” showing that humanity has breached seven critical tipping points; and by the 2012, Nature article, “Approaching a State Shift in Earth’s Biosphere,” by 22 international scientists warning of an “irreversible” planetary-scale transition, “unknown in human experience.”

And yet, politicians and delegates travel around the world, stay in luxury hotels and dither about our children’s future, as carbon emissions rise, species blink from existence, rivers run dry and ancient forests burn. It is no wonder, and a welcome sight, that the world’s youth have seen enough and are not impressed.

Thirty Years of Pep Talks

On Dec. 12 2018, at the COP 24 UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland, Swedish student Greta Thunberg finally said what the politicized delegates have failed to say. Thunberg is a direct descendant of Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius, who predicted global heating from carbon emissions in 1896.

During this year’s heat wave and wildfires in Sweden, Thunberg gained world attention by staging a school strike outside the Swedish Riksdag, holding a sign that read, “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (school strike for climate). She demanded that the Swedish government reduce carbon emissions. Her actions inspired student strikes in over 270 cities around the world.

Greta Thunberg full speech at UN Climate Change COP24 Conference youtu.be

Speaking on behalf of Climate Justice Now, Thunberg chastised the delegates and member nations for failing to take action appropriate to the climate crisis: “Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground.”

Thunberg pointed out that “if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself,” and she spoke directly to the errors and injustice of our economic system. “Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.”

She exposed the errors of convenient but false solutions that have displaced the genuine solutions to climate change and ecological collapse. “You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular,” she said. “You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.”

“We’ve had thirty years of pep-talking and selling positive ideas,” she said in Stockholm prior to departing for Poland, “And I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work. Because if it would have, the emissions would have gone down by now—they haven’t.”

Meanwhile, outside the conference, 330 organizations from 129 countries presented six “People’s Demands for Climate Justice,” beginning with “Keep fossil fuels in the ground and end subsidies to fossil fuel industry.”

The youth leaders urged nations to “reject false solutions”—techno-fixes and offsetting schemes—in favor of “real solutions that are just, feasible, and essential.” They particularly called out corporations and rich nations, who use the excuse of carbon sinks to seize indigenous land.

They called on the rich nations, whose historical carbon emissions have caused the climate crisis, to accept their fair share of climate reparation costs by honoring their Green Climate Fund obligations.

Finally, the coalition demanded that UN conferences end “corporate interference” and sabotage of the climate talks. Extraction corporations “have been getting massively wealthy,” said Sriram Madhusoodanan from Corporate Accountability. “They’re in these talks, blocking real solutions and advancing false solutions that will continue to propagate their business model.”

 

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Media Presents Geoengineering as Last Ditch Effort to Save Humanity From Disaster

Image Credit: The Mind Unleashed

By Derrick Broze | The Mind Unleashed

Despite studies showing potential for devastating environmental consequences Harvard researchers will launch a real world solar engineering experiment in 2019.

Researchers with Harvard University are planning to launch a solar engineering experiment to test the effects of spraying calcium carbonate into the stratosphere. The research team includes physicist David Keith, a longtime proponent of geoengineering. Geoengineering is the deliberate and large-scale manipulation of the weather and climate using a variety of technologies. One popular form of geoengineering being explored by scientists is known as Solar Radiation Management (SRM), a process which involves planes spraying aerosols in the skies in an effort to reflect sunlight in an effort to combat climate change.

The team is currently using computer models to predict the results of their experiment. Past studies have shown attempts at blocking the sun via spraying the sky with aerosols could cause a loss of blue skies, smaller crop yields, droughts and other environmental disasters.

Nature reports:

“If all goes as planned, the Harvard team will be the first in the world to move solar geoengineering out of the lab and into the stratosphere, with a project called the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx). The first phase — a US$3-million test involving two flights of a steerable balloon 20 kilometres above the southwest United States — could launch as early as the first half of 2019. Once in place, the experiment would release small plumes of calcium carbonate, each of around 100 grams, roughly equivalent to the amount found in an average bottle of off-the-shelf antacid. The balloon would then turn around to observe how the particles disperse.”

The Nature report states that the experiment started as a partnership between atmospheric chemist James Anderson of Harvard and David Keith. Keith has previously worked on another project under the same name which was supposed to test balloons releasing calcium carbonate over the skies of Arizona. Keith has been promoting climate engineering for around 25 years. He is also the founder of the company Carbon Engineering which promotes the use of geoengineering technology to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. He has also received research funding from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Keith told Nature the Harvard team have not faced any opposition from the public. Except for “the occasional conspiracy theorist”, a reference to those who claim weather modification and geoengineering programs have been covertly active for decades. Instead, Keith states, the challenge comes from “fear among science-funding agencies” that environmentalists will protest investments in geoengineering. Keith also stated that an upcoming analysis by his team has reportedly found that that the whole world would benefit from a “moderate solar geoengineering program”.

“Despite all of the concerns, we can’t find any areas that would be definitely worse off,” he told Nature“If solar geoengineering is as good as what is shown in these models, it would be crazy not to take it seriously.”

Despite the claims by Keith, a recent study published by Nature found the potential for lower crop yields. This study is not the first one to draw attention to the dangers of beginning geoengineering programs. According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, if geoengineering programs were started and then suddenly halted, the planet could see an immediate rise in temperatures, particularly over land.

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‘We Have Not Come Here to Beg World Leaders to Care,’ 15-Year-Old Greta Thunberg Tells COP24. ‘We Have Come to Let Them Know Change Is Coming’

UN Secretary General António Guterres seated next to 15-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who explained that while the world consumes an estimated 100 million barrels of oil each day, “there are no politics to change that. There are no politics to keep that oil in the ground. So we can longer save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.” (Photo: UNFCC COP24 / Screenshot)

By Jon Queally | Common Dreams

Striking her mark at the COP24 climate talks taking place this week and next in Poland, fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden issued a stern rebuke on behalf of the world’s youth climate movement to the adult diplomats, executives, and elected leaders gathered by telling them she was not there asking for help or demanding they comply with demands but to let them know that new political realities and a renewable energy transformation are coming whether they like it or not.

“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago,” said Thunberg, who has garnered international notoriety for weekly climate strikes outside her school in Sweden, during a speech on Monday.

Thunberg said that she was not asking anything of the gathered leaders—even as she sat next to UN Secretary General António Guterres—but only asking the people of the world “to realize that our political leaders have failed us, because we are facing an existential threat and there’s no time to continue down this road of madness.”

Thunberg explained that while the world consumes an estimated 100 million barrels of oil each day, “there are no politics to change that. There are no politics to keep that oil in the ground. So we can longer save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.”

“So we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future,” she declared. “They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again. We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. The people will rise to the challenge.”

“On climate change,” said Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester, the teenage Thunberg “demonstrates more clarity and leadership in one speech than a quarter of a century of the combined contributions of so called world leaders. Wilful ignorance and lies have overseen a 65 percent rise in CO2 since 1990. Time to hand over the baton.”

Watch Thunberg’s full remarks:

The climate crisis, she said, “is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. First we have to realize this and then as fast as possible do something to stop the emissions and try to save what we can save.”


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Tackling Climate Change Requires Healing the Divide

Image Credit: Pexels

By Dr. David Suzuki | EcoWatch

Canadian climate change opinion is polarized, and research shows the divide is widening. The greatest predictor of people’s outlook is political affiliation. This means people’s climate change perceptions are being increasingly driven by divisive political agendas rather than science and concern for our collective welfare.

Over the past year, the Alberta Narratives Project gathered input from a broad range of Albertans (teachers, faith groups, health professionals, farmers, artists, industry, environmentalists, etc.) to better understand how they feel about public discourse on global warming. Participants said they want less blame and a more open, balanced and respectful conversation. Many don’t see themselves in the conversation at all. No one is speaking to them, using language that reflects their values and identity.

Albertans are deeply divided in their climate change perceptions. In 2017, just over half the population was doubtful or dismissive. When an issue is highly polarized, people find it difficult to discuss. The Alberta Narratives Project found people rarely, if ever, speak to others about climate change.

Climate disruption is a collective threat, not just an environmental issue. We must all see ourselves as part of the effort to prevent extreme impacts and ensure sustainable, resilient communities. But how can we take shared action when we can’t even talk to each other about the problem?

 

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‘Wow Wow Wow… Huge News’ as New York Sues ExxonMobil for Defrauding Investors by Hiding Climate Threat

Activists protested after it was made public that ExxonMobil for years deliberately tried to hide the truth about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo: Johnny Silvercloud/cc/flickr)

By Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams

After a three-year probe and amid mounting demands that the fossil fuel industry be held accountable for driving the climate crisis, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood on Wednesday filed suit against ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil and gas company, for defrauding investors by downplaying the financial threat of regulations crafted to mitigate human-caused global warming.

“Big oil may finally face some consequences for its role in wrecking the climate,” declared 350.org co-founded Bill McKibben. “The New York Attorney General is standing up for investors who may have been swindled, and indirectly for the seven billion of us who will suffer from Exxon’s lies.”

“Investors put their money and their trust in Exxon—which assured them of the long-term value of their shares, as the company claimed to be factoring the risk of increasing climate change regulation into its business decisions. Yet as our investigation found, Exxon often did no such thing,” Underwood said in a statement.

New York investigators, she said, concluded that “Exxon built a facade to deceive investors into believing that the company was managing the risks of climate change regulation to its business when, in fact, it was intentionally and systematically underestimating or ignoring them, contrary to its public representations.”

The complaint (pdf) details years of troubling actions by Exxon’s leaders—including former CEO Rex Tillerson, who spent more than 40 years at the company prior to his short-lived tenure as the President Donald Trump’s first secretary of state.

https://twitter.com/NewYorkStateAG/status/1055148351006609409?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The state’s probe, launched by Underwood’s predecessor Eric Schneiderman, came to light in 2015 after the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News reported that the company had “conducted cutting-edge climate research decades ago and then, without revealing all that it had learned, worked at the forefront of climate denial.”

Since those reports, Exxon has been named in multiple climate liability lawsuits brought by citycounty, and state officials across the country as advocacy groups and the public have increasingly pressured politicians to hold oil and gas companies accountable for contributing to the climate crisis and lying about the devastating long-term impacts of dirty energy.

Exxon’s “colossal climate denial operation”—which was also detailed in a Harvard study published last year—”significantly impacted how the climate change debate played out in business, science, and politics,” noted Naomi Ages of Greenpeace USA.

And as Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, observed, “Climate change deception is central to Exxon’s business model.” The company pocketed immense profits while it “bankrolled a 30-year, multi-million denial campaign, manufacturing doubt about climate science when it knew there was none.”

While Exxon continues to make money from oil and gas production, coastal communities are facing the mounting financial and environmental costs of the climate crisis. Wiles, like many others who support the ongoing litigation against fossil fuel firms, said Wednesday that Exxon “needs to pay investors they misled and the cities and states now facing massive climate expenses.”

In addition to making the companies pay for the consequences of their products, climate campaigners are demanding a worldwide transition to renewable energy. Referencing the recent IPCC report that stated the international community must take rapid action to prevent climate catastrophe, Ages pointed out: “The stakes have never been higher in capping carbon emissions.”


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To Save the Planet From Climate Catastrophe, New Study Says Stop Eating Meat

To accomplish the global community’s climate goals, new research concluded that among other dietary changes, the average world citizen needs to eat 75 percent less beef. (Photo: John Jones/Flickr/cc)

By Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams

Amid fresh warnings from United Nations researchers that there is a closing window to enact the “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented” societal changes needed to prevent a climate catastrophe, a new study of the global food system underscores the environmental necessity of a massive reduction in meat consumption worldwide.

Considering projections that the world’s population could grow to 10 billion by 2050, Options for Keeping the Food System Within Environmental Limits, published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature, found that mitigating the climate crisis requires overhauling the current system by shifting toward more plant-based diets, improving technologies and management, and slashing food waste by at least half.

“Feeding a world population of 10 billion is possible, but only if we change the way we eat and the way we produce food,” study co-author Johan Rockström of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany told the Guardian. “Greening the food sector or eating up our planet: this is what is on the menu today.”

While environmentalists and experts alike are quick to note that urgently transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is essential to meeting the goals outlined in the Paris climate accord or more ambitious targets, this new study adds to a growing body of research that clearly shows how current meat production and consumption trends significantly contribute to the global climate crisis, particularly through greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), livestock are responsible for about 14.5 percent of anthropogenic GHG emissions. In a discussion of the study’s findings, lead author Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Program on the Future of Food noted that overall food production is responsible for about a quarter of all emissions—making it “a major driver of climate change.”

As Springmann wrote, the team of 23 researchers from across the world found that “adopting healthy and more plant-based diets globally could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the food system by more than half, and also reduce other environmental impacts, such as those from fertilizer application and the use of cropland and freshwater, by a tenth to a quarter.”

To accomplish the global community’s climate goals, the team concluded that, as the Guardian outlined, “the average world citizen needs to eat 75 percent less beef, 90 percent less pork, and half the number of eggs, while tripling consumption of beans and pulses and quadrupling nuts and seeds.” Perhaps the greatest barrier to such dramatic dietary changes is convincing farmers and consumers to alter their choices.

“When it comes to diets, comprehensive policy and business approaches are essential to make dietary changes towards healthy and more plant-based diets possible and attractive for a large number of people,” Springmann explained. “Important aspects include school and workplace programs, economic incentives and labeling, and aligning national dietary guidelines with the current scientific evidence on healthy eating and the environmental impacts of our diet.”

For the study, researchers examined not only how the global food system contributes to global warming through GHG emissions, but also how cropland use, exploitation of groundwater resources, and agricultural runoff from the application of nitrogen and phosphorus could decrease biodiversity, limit freshwater availability, and lead to dead zones in coastal oceans.

“No single solution is enough to avoid crossing planetary boundaries,” Springmann emphasized. “But when the solutions are implemented together, our research indicates that it may be possible to feed the growing population sustainably.”


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Urging Multi-Pronged Effort to Halt Climate Crisis, Scientists Say Protecting World’s Forests as Vital as Cutting Emissions

By Julia Conley | Common Dreams

With a new statement rejecting the notion that drastically curbing emissions alone is enough to curb the threat of human-caused global warming, a group of scientists are urging world leaders to take immediate action to stop deforestation—calling it a key solution to stem the planetary climate crisis.

Forty scientists from five countries signed a statement days before the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is scheduled to meet in South Korea, warning that stopping deforestation is as urgent as ending the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

“We must protect and maintain healthy forests to avoid dangerous climate change and to ensure the world’s forests continue to provide services critical for the well-being of the planet and ourselves,” the statement read. “Our message as scientists is simple: Our planet’s future climate is inextricably tied to the future of its forest.”

Because forests absorb about a quarter of the carbon released by human activity, the elimination of forests and jungles around the world would release more than three trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—more than the amount that could be released from all of the world’s oil, gas, and coal reserves.

“The forest piece of the conversation is often lost and I don’t think the IPCC report will highlight it enough,” Deborah Lawrence, a professor at the University of Virginia who signed the statement, told The Guardian.

Deforestation represents a vicious cycle in the fight against the climate crisis. As the burning of fossil fuels leads to a warmer planet, changes in the climate have had multiple effects including wildfires like the ones that have swept through Europe and the U.S. in recent months, contributing to more deforestation which then releases more carbon.

“We will have a hotter, drier world without these forests” Lawrence told The Guardian.“There needs to be an international price on carbon to fund the protection of forests.”

The IPCC is scheduled to meet Monday.


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World Economy Can Reap $26 Trillion in a Decade by Fighting Climate Change

Shifting from fossil fuels to cleaner energies such as solar power could prevent 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution in 2030. Dennis Schroeder / energy.gov

By Lorraine Chow | EcoWatch

Fighting climate change could generate more than 65 million new low-carbon jobs, avoid more than 700,000 premature deaths from air pollution and add $26 trillion to the global economy all by 2030, according to a major report from international experts.

The report, however, warns policymakers there is a “critical” 2-3 year window to unlock these green benefits—or else the planet could barrel towards runaway climate change.

“Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story of the 21st Century” was released Wednesday by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, an international organization headed by former heads of government, finance ministers and business leaders.

The study’s authors urge governments and the private sector to make decisive shifts, as a “business-as-usual” approach to climate could warm the planet 2°C by 2030, the threshold for dangerous global warming.

“We are at a unique ‘use it or lose it’ moment,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former finance minister of Nigeria and co-chair of the Global Commission, in a press release. “Policy makers should take their feet off the brakes, send a clear signal that the new growth story is here and that it comes with exciting economic and market opportunities.”

There are five key areas of green opportunities: developing clean energy systems, improving urban planning, shifting to sustainable agriculture, smart water management and decarbonizing industry, AFP reported from the study.

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Iran Just Accused the West of Engineering Drought for the 2nd Time

Image Credit: SS

By Markab Algedi | The Mind Unleashed

Iran Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, the man in charge of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization recently came out and openly said Iran’s clouds were being “stolen” by Israel and another nation in the region.

He said that they were altering the clouds before they pass over Iran.

(Image credit: Metro)

 

He described the exact same thing that others in America, specifically California have observed about drought: the skies are sprayed, and then the rain doesn’t fall.

Photographic evidence can easily verify that the skies are sprayed over Israel and Turkey, and if they tested the rain like independent researchers did in California, they would probably find the signature geoengineering materials aluminum, barium, and strontium, like California.

Photographic evidence of stratospheric aerosol injection above Israel (Image credit: youtube)

 

For years, Iranian leaders have been painting a picture of geoengineering over the Mediterranean. They have described technology being used to make the rain clouds passing over Iran not fall. They seem to be describing a situation in which the skies are sprayed just West of Iran over the Mediterranean, and then the rain does not fall in Iran, until it skips the country and rains or snows further East.

People who know about geoengineering, sprayed skies, and drought don’t find this description to be difficult to understand. In contrast, this is how the mainstream is reporting on it.

At a conference, the general said “The changing climate in Iran is suspect. Foreign interference is suspected to have played a role in climate change.”

He went on to say that a scientific study in Iran was performed, and it confirmed the claims made by Iranians, including former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2012.

Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Image credit: breakingisraelnews)

 

Will this study be released to the public outside of Iran? People aware of sprayed skies and geoengineering can only hope that it is released.

“Israel and another country in the region have joint teams which work to ensure clouds entering Iranian skies are unable to release rain,” the general continued.

“On top of that, we are facing the issue of cloud and snow theft,” the general continued. He cited a survey which shows that above 2,200 meters, all nearby mountainous areas between the Mediterranean and Afghanistan are covered by snow, except Iran.

(Image credit: iran-bn)

 

The tabloid mainstream media were the primary ones in the West to pick this story up. If they belittle it, you know it’s probably striking a nerve.

A Metro article from the UK found an Iranian meteorological service figure to counter the claims. “Iran has suffered a prolonged drought, and this is a global trend that does not apply only to Iran,” the head of Iran’s meteorological service Ahad Vazife said.

Yeah, and the Iranian scientists and government officials are boldly not backing down when it comes to figuring out why it’s a “global trend.” It’s a global trend because in certain areas, spraying and weather modification seems to be happening, on every continent. Iran has obviously been hit much worse.

Dried riverbed of Zayandeh river with Khaju Bridge in background, Isfahan Iran. (Image credit: ft)

 

North Korea also just happens to be facing several year long, terrible drought.

This issue goes so much deeper than the drought in Iran, or the drought in California: that is, the issue of the skies being secretly sprayed with aluminum to modify the weather, or even openly sprayed with aluminum as part of a public relations campaign to “stop global warming” with ulterior motives.

(Image credit: University of Leeds)

 

Persia, in modern times known as Iran, has been the number one enemy of Western power since the birth of Western civilization. The longest conflict in world history, at least recorded history was between various Roman and Persian empires, and due to Persia’s protection provided by the mountainous region of Afghanistan and several other factors, it has remained unconquerable yet.

Many understand that drought is being caused in locations around the world with the spraying of the skies, and as it seems, facilities on the ground that beam a type of electromagnetic current through the stratosphere to guide weather systems, or make rain not fall in a particular area.

Those who have diligently studied the skies being sprayed over them, and the things that happened in their area after that, all notice that drought immediately follows a period of time where spraying is increased.

You can smell it, you can test the rain and find the known, proven components of geoengineering material, aluminum, barium, strontium, and the evidence can be examined closely here in this free PDF version of a book critical to this issue.

However if you’re skeptical of this being real, please do keep reading and if you care to do so, research all of this. Check the evidence for the existence of this entire field of science, geoengineering, in this book and check those sources.

This may become one of the worst problems of our time in the next several decades. For the next several decades, our health may decline worse and worse as governments start to spray whatever they want on us, in addition to the geoengineering materials.

 

 

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‘Watershed Moment for Climate Liability’ as Rhode Island Files Historic Lawsuit Against 21 Big Oil Companies

“Here we are—the smallest state, the Ocean State—taking on the biggest, most powerful corporate polluters in the world,” said the state’s attorney general. “They need to be held accountable.”

BynJessica Corbett, staff writer | Common Dreams

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced on July 2, 2018 that the state has filed a lawsuit against 21 Big Oil companies for their contributions to the climate crisis. (Photo: @AGKilmartin/Twitter)

In what advocates are calling a “watershed moment” for climate litigation, Rhode Island’s Democratic Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced on Monday that the state has filed a lawsuit against 21 major oil companies—including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell—”for knowingly contributing to climate change, and causing catastrophic consequences to Rhode Island, our economy, our communities, our residents, our ecosystems.”

“This lawsuit marks the first in the country filed on behalf of a state and its citizens against Big Oil,” Kilmartin declared. “For a very long time there has been this perception that they, Big Oil, were too big to take on, but here we are—the smallest state, the Ocean State—taking on the biggest, most powerful corporate polluters in the world, because it’s the right thing to do. They need to be held accountable.”

The suit is supported by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, Reps. Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse—all Democrats. Whitehouse, a congressional leader on climate action, commendedKilmartin for “holding some of the world’s most powerful corporations responsible for the damage they’re inflicting on our coastal economy, infrastructure, and way of life.”

Bill McKibben, cofounder of 350.org, called it a “major” development:

The filing comes on the heels of a similar pair of landmark lawsuits brought by two cities in California, which U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup dismissed last week. Following Kilmartin’s announcement, Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, said the Rhode Island suit “takes climate liability to another level, and puts Judge Alsup’s recent decision in the rearview mirror.”

“When state attorneys general start filing suit it’s a game changer, as it was with tobacco and currently is in opioid litigation. In the same way, Rhode Island’s lawsuit is a watershed moment for climate liability,” Wiles added. “Kilmartin recognized that if polluters don’t pay, then taxpayers will, and that is completely unacceptable.”

As the complaint (pdf), filed in the Rhode Island Superior Court, outlines:

Defendants, major corporate members of the fossil fuel industry, have known for nearly half a century that unrestricted production and use of their fossil fuel products create greenhouse gas pollution that warms the planet and changes our climate. They have known for decades that those impacts could be catastrophic and that only a narrow window existed to take action before the consequences would be irreversible. They have nevertheless engaged in a coordinated, multi-front effort to conceal and deny their own knowledge of those threats, discredit the growing body of publicly available scientific evidence, and persistently create doubt in the minds of customers, consumers, regulators, the media, journalists, teachers, and the public about the reality and consequences of the impacts of their fossil fuel pollution.

Speaking at the iconic Narragansett Sea Wall, Kilmartin explained the specific allegations against these oil companies, including that they “created, contributed to, and assisted in creating the conditions in Rhode Island that constitute a public nuisance,” and “violated the state’s Environmental Rights Act by polluting, impairing, and destroying natural resources of the state.”

“Rhode Island seeks to ensure that the parties who have profited from externalizing the responsibility for sea level rise, drought, extreme precipitation events, heatwaves, other results of the changing hydrologic and meteorological regime caused by global warming, and associated consequences of those physical and environmental changes, bear the costs of those impacts on Rhode Island,” the complaint concludes, “rather than the state, the local taxpayers, residents, or broader segments of the public.”

“Taxpayers should not be expected to shoulder the steep financial burden of rebuilding after super storms like Harvey and Irma, or the yet to be named storms that will only increase in frequency if climate change continues unabated,” asserted Greenpeace climate campaigner Naomi Ages, praising Kilmartin for his leadership. “Despite having clear evidence that its products were harming the planet, the fossil fuel industry failed to warn consumers and regulators about the dangers. For this, it must pay.”


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‘Plastic in All Sizes’ Found Everywhere in Once Pristine European Arctic

An Arctic tern entangled in fishing gear. Governor of Svalbard / Norwegian Polar Institute Facebook

By Lorraine Chow | EcoWatch

A disturbing amount of plastic is building up in the once-pristine European Arctic.

According to a study from the Norwegian Polar Institute, “plastic in all sizes” can be found throughout the Norwegian Arctic and in the Svalbard islands, an archipelago between Norway’s mainland and the North Pole that’s also one of Earth’s northernmost inhabited areas.

The researchers estimated that nearly 194 trash objects—mostly plastic—can be found per square kilometer in the region, and weighs a total of 79,000 tonnes.

As ABC.net reported from the study, “even in remote areas with relatively low human impact, it says the concentration of plastic waste in the European Arctic is now comparable or even higher than in more urban and populated areas.”

The researchers are most concerned about the amount of microplastics in the sea, said scientist Ingeborg G. Hallanger, who is urging for more research on the effects of plastics on the area’s wildlife.

“We lack knowledge about the effects on animals. Here we have to research more,” she said. “But we know that as much as 90 percent of seabirds have a plastic in the stomach. 22.5 percent of the seahorses have more than 0.1 gram of plastic in the stomach.”

“We know that animals confuse the microplastic with food and eat it,” added Hallanger. “This can cause internal damage. We also see that animals get stuck in plastic thrown into nature; such as fishing nets and other plastic residues.”

Geir Wing Gabrielsen, one of the paper’s authors, told BBC News that the fulmar, an Arctic seabird, is particularly impacted.

“At the end of the 1970s we found very few plastic in their stomachs. In 2013 when we last investigated, some had more than 200 pieces of plastic in their stomachs,” he said.

Larger animals are also being harmed by the litter. “Other creatures are getting entangled in nets washed up on beaches—like reindeer,” Gabrielsen continued. “Some die because they can’t release their antlers—we find them every year.”

Gabrielsen said that in Svalbard, 80 percent of the waste comes from discarded fishing gear.

“The results are disturbing,” said Climate and Environment Minister Ola Elvestuen. “It is important that we get the fisheries, aquaculture industry and shipping industry on this. We also need to get control of microplastic that comes from artificial turf and car tires.”

Worryingly, the researchers predict that the amount of plastic in the Arctic regions will only increase. In 2015, global plastic production reached 322 million tonnes and will continue to grow.

 

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