Saturday, February 24, 2007
Hard Rain Journal 2-24-07: Climate Crisis Update -- Our Greatest Planetary Threat is Our Greatest Planetary Opportunity
Image: Al Gore, Carmen Diaz and Kevin Wall announce Live Earth, 7-7-07
THE world is in the midst of a great political transformation, in which climate change has moved to the centre of national and global politics.
For politicians in persistent denial about the need act, including US President George W Bush, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, there is no longer any place to hide.
The science is clear, manmade changes in climate are being felt, and the electorate's demand for action is growing.
Though unlikely just a few months ago, a strong global agreement by 2010, one that will set a path for action for decades to come, now stands a good chance of being implemented.
Political leaders in countries that produce coal, oil, and gas - like the US, Australia, and Canada - have pretended that climate change is a mere hypothesis.
For several years, the Bush administration tried to hide the facts from the public, deleting references to manmade climate from government documents and even trying to suppress statements by leading government scientists.
Yet truth has triumphed over political manoeuvres. JEFFREY D. SACHS, The Climate Change Revolution, The Namibian, 2-23-07
Hard Rain Journal 2-24-07: Climate Crisis Update -- Our Greatest Planetary Threat is Our Greatest Planetary Opportunity
By Richard Power
Giant hornets are killing the honey bees of France. The wines of Tuscany are imperiled. Romania is considering shifting its soccer season. In the South Pacific, the 105,000 inhabitants of Kiribati will have to leave their island nation -- soon. The sea turtles that nest on the beaches of Flordia are being decimated. The Indian government has launched a massive afforestation project. In the Peruvian Andes, the vital Qori Kalis glacier will be gone in five years. And there is much more. This litany is just a random sampling...
Yes, global warming, accelerated by human consumption of fossil fuels, is causing drastic climate changes which could result in catastrophic circumstances for much of humankind. At this point in our history, you would have to either be heavily-invested in fossil fuels, in deep denial about a lot more than the environment, or both, not to accept this fact.
But this planetary crisis is not only a profound threat, it is a life-affirming challenge and an extraordinary opportunity for humankind to get it right, i.e., to overcome short-sightedness and disconnectedness, and come to grips with many of the security and sustainability issues -- e.g., water, oil, debt, population control, arms proliferation -- that would have confronted us with dire consequences, sooner or later, even if global warming had not changed the game forever.
Here are some stories from Kashmir to South Africa to Manhattan's financial district, organized by region -- these eleven news items and op-ed pieces highlight both global warming's sweeping impact and humankind's so far fitful response, and they include some encouraging insights and practical recommendations from those leaders in business and government, as well as scientists and activists, who understand:
Ironically, Africa, and SA in particular, lie in the middle of this "road to hell". As a recent report stated, "global warming means that many dry areas (in Africa) are going to get drier and wet areas are going to get wetter". But, as the global warming increases, we may also be approaching a tipping point in the tide of public opinion -- and, more important, political will -- which might just save humanity from the worst effects of global warming...
The pressure will not go away. So what can you do?
On the business front: recognise global warming as a central business issue -- and a profit opportunity. Ensure your colleagues and staff understand the issue.
Understand your own company's carbon footprint. Start with an energy audit. What's your energy bill? What can you do to cut it and make real savings?
Actively seek out and develop the new business opportunities and grab them before everyone else does. There is plenty of low-hanging fruit for the nimble and forward-thinking.
What do you want your environmental balance sheet to say? Tie your beliefs directly to your brand. Communicate what you are doing to your customers, markets and government.
Ask where your own investments are going. Where is your pension fund investing? Are you supporting environmentally sound businesses? Talk to your suppliers. Make clear the environmental standards you expect.
And, most important, act now! Smart businesses are already getting ahead of the curve. Remember that leaders act before they have to. Neil Jacobsohn, The Bottom Line About Climate Change, All Africa, 2-19-07
SOUTH Africa faces the prospect of severe effects from global warming and the Western Cape is likely to be the province most affected.
This was revealed at a conference hosted by the Western Cape environmental affairs and development department in George yesterday...
In a presentation by OneWorld Sustainable Investments, a consultant retained by the department to formulate a response strategy for the province, the meeting learned that the effects had already been detected in the region. “We are seeing the disappearance of the transitional seasons of spring and autumn which are vital for some farming activities, such as fruit growing, which need a gradual change of temperature to produce fruit of export quality,” said Belynda Petrie.
Petrie also predicted that the interior of the Cape would become hotter and drier and the western section of the Western Cape would receive less rainfall, but the Garden Route area was likely to become wetter and windier.Bob Hopkin, Western Cape ready to face challenges of climate change, conference learns, The Herald,2-24-07
These circumstances will affect inter alia food production, infrastructure, water supply, biodiversity, natural ecosystems, and human health. Developing countries will suffer disproportionately from negative impacts of climate change. In addition, processes of development will be retarded, and new sources of social conflict will arise as consequences of increasingly adverse climatic conditions. Therefore it is necessary to define actions aimed at reducing the vulnerability of poorer social groups and allowing them to participate equability in the new opportunities offered by global climate change policy. It is in this area that development co-operation finds a specific niche where it can address a global concern through activities at the local level. Dr. S. A. Shameem, Climate Change: A Threat to Global Environment, Greater Kashmir, 2-24-07
New Delhi: The President's Address to the joint session of Parliament at the start of the Budget Session on Friday for the first time took note of climate change as President Kalam expressed concern over the impending climate change due to global warming and called upon the international community to evolve a framework for sustainable development to ward off the threat. The President also announced that a major programme for massive afforestation of degraded forest land, 'Green India', was under active consideration of his government...Quoting Gandhiji, Kalam said: ''The Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not everyman's greed." Time to ponder over climate change: Prez, IBNlive.com, 2-22-07
International efforts to combat global warming will come too late to prevent the evacuation of Pacific islands sinking as a result of rising sea levels and severe weather, said Anote Tong, president of Kiribati.
``We can't out-move the changes in the weather and the sea level rise,'' Tong said in Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, a 33-island archipelago in the northeastern Pacific. ``We have to consider leaving rather than wait.''
Most of Kiribati will be uninhabitable by the middle of this century because of weather damage and rising tides, Tong said in a telephone interview. The government is already looking at ways to permanently move the population of about 105,000 people off the islands. Emma O'Brien, Global Warming Action Comes Too Late to Help Pacific, 2-15-07
Swarms of giant hornets renowned for their vicious stings and skill at massacring honeybees have settled in France. And there are now so many of the insects that entomologists fear it will just be a matter of time before they cross to Britain...
Global warming has largely been blamed for the survival and spread of the Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina, which is thought to have arrived in France from the Far East in a consignment of Chinese pottery in late 2004...A handful can destroy a nest of 30,000 bees in just a couple of hours — a major concern among the beekeeping industry. Peter Allen, Hornets Hit France and Could Reach Britain, Telegraph UK, 2-21-07
Imagine a world where Chianti wine is made in Scandinavia.
It could come to just that by the end of the century, experts in Italy warn, if climate change continues unchecked. A study by Florence University linking the effects of rain and temperature to wine production found that increasingly high temperatures and intense rains are likely to threaten the quality of Tuscan wines. Italy's farmers association warns that the cultivation of olive trees, which grow in a mild climate, has almost reached the Alps. MARTA FALCONI, Climate change may threaten Tuscan wines, Associated Press, 2-21-07
The Romanian Soccer Federation is considering changing the soccer season's dates due to global warming, chairman Mircea Sandu said...If the trend of warm winters continues in the next 2-3 years, the players' vacation could be cut short, with the season ending on Dec. 23 and resuming on Jan. 15, Sandu said. Traditionally, the soccer league goes on vacation in mid-December for two months. Global warming could change Romania's soccer season, Associated Press, 2-12-07
The principal glacier of the world's biggest tropical ice-cap could disappear within five years as a result of global warming, one of the world's leading glaciologists predicted yesterday. The imminent demise of the Qori Kalis glacier, the main component of the Quelccaya ice cap in the Peruvian Andes, offers the starkest evidence yet of the effects of climate change, according to Lonnie Thompson, of Ohio State University. Although scientists have known for decades that Qori Kalis and the other Quelccaya glaciers are melting, new observations indicate that the rate of retreat is increasing, Professor Thompson said. When he visits this summer, he expects to find that the glacier has halved in size since last year, and he believes that Qori Kalis will be gone within five years.
Mark Henderson, Great Andean Glacier "Will Melt to Nothing by 2012," Times UK, 2-16-07
Climate change is further imperiling loggerhead turtles that nest on Florida beaches, according to a new study by British researchers. The study warns that predicted temperature increases could decimate male North American loggerhead populations, with global ramifications for the species. Climate Change Threatens Loggerhead Turtles, ENS, 2-22-07
Next time you visit the ATM at your local Citibank, you might be interested in knowing what the company is planning to invest in down in Texas since it's going to directly impact your future. This prestigious bank is seriously considering funding the dirtiest coal power project this side of China...The cost of constructing these global warming factories is estimated at $11 billion. That's a lot of scratch to cobble together, even for a big company like TXU. So they're counting on support from three of the country's leading investment banks: Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. What makes this situation so ridiculous is that these same banks are falling all over themselves trying to promote their commitment to climate protection. And now they're jockeying to fund a project that represents a giant step backwards - guaranteeing enormous carbon emissions for the next half-century...If you do business with any of these banks, contact them and demand they get with the 21st century. Laurie David, Unwise Investment: Why are Citibank, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch Funding Dirty Power?, Huffington Post
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.
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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
Global Warming, Energy Security, Environmental Security, Alternate Energy, Sustainability, Green Power, Renewable Resources, Climate Change, Weather, Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, Live Earth, Crisis Management,TXR, Laurie David, CITIGROUP, Kashmir, South Africa, Kiribati, France, Tuscany, Romania, Peru, India, Sea Turtles, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Richard Power, Words of Power