Image: Variations of the Earth's surface temperature: year 1000 to year 2100, IPCC
If one is serious about addressing the climate change crisis, it might be wise to listen to those who have close and intimate knowledge of the lands and waters.
"Mother Earth is crying," says Carrie Dann, an elder of the Western Shoshone indigenous people of the United States. "She is crying because she is wounded."
Sharing Dann's concerns about the continued abuse of natural resources for commercial gains, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a leader of the native peoples of the Philippines, adds: "It's time to stop this senselessness." Haider Rizvi, OneWorld, 5-18-07
Climate Crisis Update 6-4-07: As G-8 Summit Opens, Lots of News, None of It Good -- Arctic Ice Cap Melting Three Times as Fast, Seas are Rising Twice as Fast as Predicted
By Richard Power
Unfortunately, if there are any indigenous leaders offering spiritual insight into the nature of global warming and climate change at the G-8 summit in Germany, they will be at the barricades with the protesters; they certainly will not be inside with _resident Bush and the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony Blair.
Like a 21st Century Nero, Bush is still fiddling while the planet burns -- even if his tune has changed:
"US President George W Bush's call for a summit to look at ways to reduce greenhouse gases is "purely and simply smoke and mirrors", says former vice-president Al Gore." (The Age, 6-2-07)
And although like Geoffrey Lean, I hope for the best, the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony Blair failed the world on Iraq for the last five years, it is unlikely he will find his mojo now:
"Tony Blair may have only a little more than three weeks left in office, but that gives him plenty of time for his greatest ever international triumph, or for his biggest betrayal yet. How he handles his relationship with President George Bush over the next week is likely to determine whether or not the world will seize the best (and quite possibly the last) chance of tackling global warming before it is too late." (Geoffrey Lean, Independent, 6-3-07)
The latest reports from scientists on the frontline in the Arctic underscore the dire nature of the climate crisis and the desperate need for urgent and significant action to mitigate and adapt:
"The Arctic ice cap is melting three times as fast - and the seas are rising twice as rapidly - as had been predicted." (Independent, 6-3-07)
".. changes in the circulation of waters feeding into the Arctic Ocean are altering crucial patterns of ocean currents there with effects that are increasingly uncertain." (S.F. Chronicle, 6-2-07)
Meanwhile, both the international process for selling carbon credits and one major source of alternative energy are turning out to be part of the problem rather than key elements of an overall solution
"The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is supposed to offset greenhouse gases emitted in the developed world by selling carbon credits from elsewhere, has been contaminated by gross incompetence, rule-breaking and possible fraud by companies in the developing world." (Guardian, 6-2-07)
"Biofuels are likely to speed up global warming as they are encouraging farmers to burn tropical forests that have absorbed a large portion of greenhouse gases, climate scientists warned." (Reuters, 5-31-07)
And for yet another year, the Bush-Cheney regime's denial, delay and disinformation -- although now framed in a deceptive and hollow "initiative" -- have stymied both the G-8 and the UN, and thwarted international efforts to make progress in overcoming other challenges, e.g., the resistance of those developing nations that do not want to accept the same level of responsibility as the great powers:
"Developing countries led by China and India insist on "differentiated" commitments in any future arrangements to address climate change, arguing that the rich countries bear a "bigger responsibility" to make deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions." (IPS, 5-30-07)
Here are brief excerpts from some of these news stories, with links to the full texts:
Global warming is accelerating three times more quickly than feared, a series of startling, authoritative studies has revealed. They have found that emissions of carbon dioxide have been rising at thrice the rate in the 1990s. The Arctic ice cap is melting three times as fast - and the seas are rising twice as rapidly - as had been predicted. Geoffrey Lean, The Independent, 6-3-07
NASA scientists reading signals from a satellite in orbit, and flying aboard a low-flying plane over Greenland, are finding fresh evidence of melting snows and thinning glaciers in vast areas of the massive island. Their observations confirm the climate’s warming trend in the far northern reaches of the world, they say, where changes in the circulation of waters feeding into the Arctic Ocean are altering crucial patterns of ocean currents there with effects that are increasingly uncertain. San Francisco Chronicle, 6-2-07
A Guardian investigation has found evidence of serious irregularities at the heart of the process the world is relying on to control global warming.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is supposed to offset greenhouse gases emitted in the developed world by selling carbon credits from elsewhere, has been contaminated by gross incompetence, rule-breaking and possible fraud by companies in the developing world, according to UN paperwork, an unpublished expert report and alarming feedback from projects on the ground.
One senior figure suggested there may be faults with up to 20% of the carbon credits - known as certified emissions reductions - already sold. Since these are used by European governments and corporations to justify increases in emissions, the effect is that in some cases malpractice at the CDM has added to the net amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Nick Davies, Guardian, 6-2-07
Developing countries led by China and India insist on "differentiated" commitments in any future arrangements to address climate change, arguing that the rich countries bear a "bigger responsibility" to make deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
China and India tread a common line at the eighth Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) here Tuesday by arguing that they would oppose any move to shift the burden of reducing carbon emissions to them.
The two Asian giants, under attack as major polluters, said the industrialised countries have to provide resources and cleaner technologies by relaxing stringent intellectual property rights if they are to make any dent in addressing carbon emissions.
Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi called for "a proper balance between development and environmental objectives" to protect the planet, underscoring the need for sustainable development and transfer of "cleaner" technologies and resources. Inter Press Service, 5-30-07
Biofuels are likely to speed up global warming as they are encouraging farmers to burn tropical forests that have absorbed a large portion of greenhouse gases, climate scientists warned.
The specialists, who gathered for an international conference in Hong Kong, rang the alarm bell as Malaysian palm oil futures prices hit all-time highs this week, helped by new demand for the vegetable oil from the biodiesel sector.
"Some of these alternative energy schemes, such as biofuels, are truly dangerous," said James Lovelock, an independent scientist known for the Gaia theory.
"If exploited on a large scale, they will hasten our downfall," he said in a video message delivered from Oxford. Reuters, 5-31-07
Want to wake people up to the US mainstream news media's complicity in misinforming the public on global warming and climate change? Click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".
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Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and Words of Power. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
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