Friday, October 12, 2007

Climate Crisis Update 10-12-07: Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize, Marking the End of the Beginning

Image: Earth at Night, NASA

"It is the most dangerous challenge we've ever faced but it is also the greatest opportunity that we've ever had to make changes that we should be making for other reasons anyway," Gore said.
"This is a chance to elevate global consciousness about the challenges that we face now." ... "There's an old African proverb that says 'If you want to go quickly, go alone; if you want to go far, go together'," Gore said.
Agence France Press, 10-12-07

Climate Crisis Update 10-12-07: Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize, Marking the End of the Beginning

By Richard Power

In response to receiving the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Al Gore remarked: "I am going to go back to work right now. This is just the beginning..."

It better be the end of the beginning. If it isn't, it will prove to be the beginning of the end. Gore knows this, the IPCC knows this. Fortunately, the Nobel Committee knows it too.

Al Gore and the IPCC are deeply deserving of the honor, and the impetus and focus that it brings are desperately needed in this struggle to save our world.

There are, of course, two dimensions of meaning to the wonderful moment.

One relates to the global struggle to mitigate and adapt to global warming, the other relates to the national struggle to rescue this republic from those who have subverted its institutions.

This week's Climate Crisis Update addresses the global dimension.

(For my thoughts on the national dimension, I refer you to Open Letter to Al Gore.)

Here are excerpts from six stories with links to the full text.

The US mainstream news media is still running from the truth it finds inconvenient.

The melting ice cap is making the Arctic’s resources much more accessible. Now that is vital. Because beneath the Arctic Ocean, scientists estimate there may be a full 25 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves. There is now a race on to get to those reserves. Think Progress, 10-8-07

CNN reported on Thursday that a British judge has called Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth unfit for schools "because it is politically biased and contains scientific inaccuracies and sentimental mush." British schools may now have to preface any showing of the film with a warning.
CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano responded to this story by applauding and saying,"Finally, finally," before commenting sarcastically that "the Oscars, they give out awards for fictional films as well."
David Edwards and Muriel Kane, Raw Story, 10-4-07

The "mega-disaster" is already underway.

A record number of floods, droughts and storms around the world this year amount to a climate change "mega disaster", the United Nation's emergency relief coordinator, Sir John Holmes, has warned. ...
As a measure of the worsening situation, Ocha, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - part of the UN secretariat that employs Sir John - has issued 13 emergency "flash" appeals so far this year. The number is three more than in 2005, which held the previous record.
Two years ago only half the international disasters dealt with by Ocha had anything to do with the climate; this year all but one of the 13 emergency appeals is climate-related. "And 2007 is not finished. We will certainly have more by the end of the year, I fear," added Sir John, who is in charge of channelling international relief efforts to disaster areas. ...
Ocha believes that 66 million people were made homeless or were otherwise affected across south Asia. The lives of several million more people were turned upside down across Africa. Sudan, Mozambique, Madagascar, Zambia and Uganda experienced disastrous floods, and Swaziland and Lesotho declared emergencies because of severe drought that reduced harvests by half. ...
And, just as global warming starts to make itself felt, there are signs that "donor fatigue" has set in. Of about $338m (£166m) requested for Ocha's 13 flash appeals this year, only $114m has so far come from donors.
Julian Borger, Guardian, 10-5-07

[As of 10-6-07], the world as a whole goes into ecological debt driven by over-consumption. 'Ecological debt day' is the date when, in effect, humanity uses-up the resources the earth has available for the year, and begins eating into its stock of natural resources. World ecological debt day has crept ever earlier in the year since humanity first began living beyond its environmental means in the 1980's. The latest available data reveals that the overuse of the earth's resources is much more extreme in rich countries. For example, if everyone in the world wanted to live like people in the UK, on a very conservative estimate, we would need more than three planets like Earth.
This is just one of the findings of a new report from nef [new economics foundation], Chinadependence: the second UK Interdependence report, published in association with the Open University. ...
One World, 10-6-07

Greater attention is being paid to the issue of deforestation.

With deforestation as the second leading source of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions, experts are focusing the discussion on the viability of compensating countries for protecting their forests.
The proposal "Reduced Emissions from Deforestation" (RED) was not included in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. But now is being evaluated by scientists, companies and agencies in poor countries that have extensive forested areas. ...
"Slowing emissions from deforestation would not stop climate change, but it could be an important part of a many-part strategy," Christopher Field, head of the global ecology department at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, said in an interview for this report. ...
Implementation is expected to be finalized at the 13 Conference of Parties, to take place in December on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Zilia Castrillón, Inter Press Service, 10-6-07

The problem is not a lack of solutions, the problem is a lack of lack of political and spriritual will to implement them.

Here are some recommendations for the planet as a whole, and the country of Australia in particular:

A positive future, the report suggests, will only be guaranteed through a paradigm shift in government policy away from 'beggar-thy-neighbour' economic competitiveness, towards the cooperation demanded by our inescapable interdependence. As a minimum commitment to positive global interdependence, the report calls on the UK government to:
Adopt the ecological footprint as an official measure, with a timetable, policies and resources to move the UK to live within its fair, per capita share of available global biocapacity - so-called 'one planet living'.
Commit to reversing the decline in the UK's food self sufficiency alongside a published timetable.
Commit to year-on-year greenhouse gas emissions reductions in line with a minimum cut of 80 per cent by the year 2050. This could be achieved by following the road map to an 80 per cent cut in UK emissions by 2050 set out by Craig Simmons, technical director of Best Foot Forward.
Commit to greater energy security and independence by introducing significant measures for demand reduction, increased efficiency, deployment of renewable energy technologies and the introduction of more efficient, mini and medium scale grids for distribution.
Take action to prevent the UK being a haven for dubious capital flight from developing countries.
Compensate developing countries where a brain and skills drain of publicly trained professionals - such as from health services across Africa - benefits the UK.
Celebrate the public enrichment that comes from living in a society comprised of many cultures that is part of an interdependent world. And, as part of that, to publicly acknowledge the day in the year when, in effect, the UK stops depending on its own means, and begins to live off the rest of the world.
One World, 10-6-07

The release of the CSIRO's report on Australia's climate future brings a sharp focus on what is at stake as we evaluate Liberal and Labor policies on climate change. Among the most alarming projections is that just 60 years from now Australia could be up to five degrees hotter and 40 to 80 per cent drier.
In the same week we learned that Australia's population will reach 33 million by 2050 - just 40 years from now. Put the projections together and you can see the future shape of our cities. By 2050, for example, Melbourne will have 6 million inhabitants (up from 3.6 million now), far greater heat-stress and bushfire threat, and far less water. ... If the CSIRO's report is not to become Australia's epitaph, our country must live up to its global climate responsibilities. The following actions are required - and this year, not next.
1. Immediate ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. ...
2. Swift and dramatic reduction of Australia's emissions. Australia must be set on a trajectory of emissions reduction that will see us play our part in keeping humanity safe from dangerous climate change. ...
3. Restore the world's tropical rainforests. Tropical rainforests play a uniquely important role in the Earth's climate system, yet half are already gone and the remainder under threat. Australia can play a leading role in restoring the world's tropical forests, but funding and planned action will have to be greatly enhanced. ...
4. Reform agriculture to store carbon. New advances in biomass-based technologies indicate that the potential to generate electricity and biofuel, and to sequester carbon in soils, is enormous. ...
Tim Flannery, The Age (AU), 10-4-07

Related Posts and Additional Resources

See also Sustainability Update: Thom Hartmann & Bioneer Kenny Ausubel on Evolution, Not Devolution -- From Warring Tribes of Bacteria to Green Collar Justice and Climate Crisis Update 9-21-07: Radio Eco-Shock Interviews Richard Power on Why Global Warming, Not Terrorism, is the #1 Security Threat

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

Click here for access to great promotional tools available on The Eleventh Hour action page.

To sign the Live Earth Pledge, click here.

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".

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

Want to join hundreds of thousands of people on the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now? Click here.

Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farwell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogues with friends, family and colleagues.

And don't forget to tune into Eco-Talk Radio on the air waves and/or in cyberspace.

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