Friday, February 09, 2007

Hard Rain Journal 2-10-07: Climate Crisis Update -- It is a Strange Bird that Fouls its own Nest

Image: An Incovenient Truth
Temperature Rise/Impacts, Stern Report
* Shrinking glaciers threaten water for 50 million people
* Modest increases in cereal yields in temperate regions
* At least 300,000 people each year die from malaria, malnutrition and other climate-related diseases
* Reduction in winter mortality in higher latitudes
* 80 percent bleaching of coral reefs, e.g. Great Barrier Reef
* 5-10 percent decline in crop yield in tropical Africa
* 40-60 million more people exposed to malaria in Africa
* Up to 10 million more people affected by coastal flooding
* 15-40 percent of species face extinction (one estimate)
* High risk of extinction of Arctic species, e.g. polar bear
* Potential for Greenland ice sheet to start to melt irreversibly, committing world to 7 metre sea level rise
* In Southern Europe, serious droughts once every 10 years
* 1-4 billion more people suffer water shortages
* Some 150-550 additional millions at risk of hunger
* 1-3 million more people die from malnutrition
* Onset of Amazon forest collapse (some models only)
* Rising risk of collapse of West Antarctic Ice Sheet
* Rising risk of collapse of Atlantic Conveyor of warm water
* Rising risk of abrupt changes to the monsoon
* Agricultural yields decline by 15-35 percent in Africa
* Up to 80 million more people exposed to malaria in Africa
* Loss of around half Arctic tundra
* Possible disappearance of large glaciers in Himalayas, affecting one-quarter of China's population, many in India
* Continued increase in ocean acidity seriously disrupting marine ecosystems and possibly fish stocks
* Sea level rise threatens small islands, coastal areas such as Florida and major cities such as New York, London, and Tokyo

FACTBOX-Global warming: impacts of temperature rises, Reuters, 2-2-07

Hard Rain Journal 2-10-07: Climate Crisis Update -- It is a Strange Bird that Fouls its own Nest

By Richard Power

Here are three compelling items, with some commentary, concerning the climate change crisis.

During the Great Depression and WWII, FDR "saved capitalism from itself."

Decades later, in the heat of the Cold War, Eisenhower warned of a relapse ("beware the military-industrial complex"), but too few heeded him.

Now, in the early 21st Century, global warming and climate change have presented humanity with an inescapable challenge -- evolve or perish.

Unbridled capitalism is unenlightened capitalism, and it leads to corporatism.

Corporatism (synonymous with fascism) has nothing to do with free markets, free minds or free people.

"Indefinite growth is impossible, we only have one Earth, but a civilization of happiness is possible. Solutions exist, but public opinion ignores them, since the present power structures and those who wield economic and political power oppose those solutions." That's what René Dumont, the first ecologist candidate for [French] president, said as early as 1974. While he was preaching in the desert then and only garnered a weak 1.3 percent of votes, thirty years later all the candidates are pushing one another to sign Nicolas Hulot's "ecological pact." Suddenly, people are sounding the alarm everywhere. Not without some hypocrisy....And in Davos, the heads of companies have just salved their collective conscience by increasing the numbers of debates and roundtables on climate change. These company bosses know that the break with growth that the Rome Club advocated as far back as 1972 is a death sentence for a capitalism that can't allow itself a drastic reduction in production and material consumption. It's a whole different economy that must be put into effect, based on other values. And unless we confront that unknown, we are in the process of compromising the life of future generations....We are running into a wall. But no one can say we weren't warned. Jean-Marcel Bouguereau,"We Can't Say We Weren't Warned," Le Nouvel Observateur, 1-31-07

"It is a strange bird," a wise old crone once told me, "that fouls its own nest."

Wearing hats shaped like smokestacks and carrying signs that said, "Coal Investments Cook the Climate," a group known as Billionaires for Coal raised awareness last week about the plans by TXU, a Dallas-based utility company, to build 11 new pulverized coal-fired power plants in Texas....Some say the impetus is on the government to regulate GHG emissions; others put the responsibility on utility companies. But organizations like Rainforest Action Network (RAN) believe that banks that fund polluting projects like TXU also need to be held accountable....What is the role of the global finance industry when it comes to climate change?...If TXU secures the necessary money and permits, their 11 plants will produce 78 million tons of CO2 emissions each year for the expected 50-year lifespan of the plants....So far, the only three officially committed to the project are Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley, and they are known as "lead arrangers," in charge of helping TXU get the $11 billion in financing.
RAN has sent letters to 56 global banks -- across the United States, Canada, Europe, and even in Japan and Brazil -- urging banks to reject requests to finance the project.
In the Netherlands four banks were being approached for financing despite the fact that TXU's project will produce six times the pledged CO2 reductions of their country -- negating the efforts (six times over) of the Dutch people to limit their contributions to climate change.
According to Cotter, at least 18 banks have already responded that they have no interest in financing the plan, and not one has affirmed that they will. So far there are also three major banks on public record saying they are not on board -- Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of Montreal. Wachovia and Scotiabank are among those still on the fence.
Tara Lohan, Who's Funding Global Warming?, Reuters Alternet, 2-5-07

The right-wing's denial of global warming and climate change is no longer a political issue, it has become a mental health and public safety issue.

National Journal has released a new “Congressional Insiders Poll,” which surveyed 113 members of Congress — 10 Senate Democrats, 48 House Democrats, 10 Senate Republicans, and 45 House Republicans — about their positions on global warming.
The results were startling. Only 13 percent of congressional Republicans say they believe that human activity is causing global warming, compared to 95 percent of congressional Democrats. Moreover, the number of Republicans who believe in human-induced global warming has actually dropped since April 2006, when the number was 23 percent.
POLL: Only 13 Percent Of Congressional Republicans Believe In Man-Made Global Warming, Think Progress, 2-5-07

Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"

There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.


Hard Rain Journal 2-1-07: Climate Crisis Update -- From California to Queensland, the "Inconvenient Truth" has Become Unavoidable

Hard Rain Journal 1-22-07: Climate Crisis Update -- At Five Minutes to Midnight, Europe at Risk

Hard Rain Journal 1-2-07: Climate Crisis Update -- Dire Warnings from the West's Experts and from Chinese Gov; Meanwhile, from the US Gov -- NOTHING

Hard Rain Journal 12-27-06: Climate Crisis Update -- Lohachara is Gone, the Bears in Spain are Not Hibernating, Wall Street Wonders What It All Means

Hard Rain Journal 12-14-06: Climate Crisis Update -- Three Damn Good Reasons for "Carbon Freeze" and Peace is One of Them

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: For more information, go to

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