Thursday, March 27, 2008

Climate Crisis Update: Three Powerful Acts -- Harness the Tidal Power, Turn Off for the Earth Hour & Acknowledge Peak Oil

United States of Climate Change, Sightline

Satellite images show that a large hunk of Antarctica's Wilkins Ice Shelf has started to collapse in a fast-warming region of the continent, scientists said ... The area of collapse measured about 160 square miles of the Wilkins Ice Shelf ... The Wilkins Ice Shelf is a broad sheet of permanent floating ice that spans about 5,000 square miles and is located on the southwest Antarctic Peninsula about 1,000 miles south of South America. Reuters, 3-26-08

Cimate Crisis Update: Three Powerful Acts -- Harness the Tidal Power, Turn Off for the Earth Hour & Acknowledge Peak Oil

By Richard Power

Year after year, month after month, week after week, day after day, hour after hour, moment by moment, the climate crisis is deepening.

Although, in general, both government and business are moving far too slowly, many people throughout the world are endeavoring to make a meaningful difference in the future of the human race.

A British firm has agreed to build a giant tidal power scheme - the world's largest - in South Korea, using underwater turbines that experts say could make the proposed £15 billion Severn Barrage obsolete.
The £500 million scheme proposed off the South Korean coast will use power from fast-moving tidal streams, caused by rising and falling tides, to turn a field of 300 60ft-high tidal turbines on the sea floor. ...
The joint venture between Lunar Energy, a British tidal power company, and Korean Midland Power Company, in the Wando Hoenggan waterway is expected to power 200,000 homes by 2015. ...
Telegraph/UK, 3-16-08

There are simple and powerful actions that you can participate in directly.

On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.
Earth Hour was created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and in one year has grown from an event in one city to a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 100 cities across North America will participate, including the US flagships–Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco and Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
We invite everyone throughout North America and around the world to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8 p.m. (your own local time)–whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town.

To sign up for Earth Hour, click here.

Meanwhile, in a recent interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, NASA's legendary Dr. James Hansen shed light on two issues that some in high places would rather you just not think about, i.e., coal and peak oil. (Indeed, peak oil is a dimension of the 21st Century security and sustainability crisis that next to no one in the political establishment or the mainstream news media is willing to acknowledge.) --

DR. JAMES HANSEN: Well, the most important thing is—if you just look at how much carbon dioxide there is in the different fossil fuels, coal is the really big issue. The important step is to have a moratorium on any new coal-fired power plants until we have the technology to capture the carbon dioxide and sequester it. And if we would do that, that’s a good fraction of the solution. But we’re also going to have to use the other fossil fuels more conservatively. We’re going to need to emphasize energy efficiency. And eventually we have to find sources of energy that don’t produce greenhouse gases. ...
JUAN GONZALEZ: I mean, it seems that in terms of the reaction of many of the candidates to the increasing crisis in terms of supply of oil is that they’re looking at either—at nuclear energy or increased coal use to sort of deal with trying to get the country more energy independent, rather than the long-term prospects of actually having more efficient use of energy and reductions in terms of our society adjusting dramatically to a different use of energy in the future.
DR. JAMES HANSEN: Yeah, and they’re saying things like, “Well, we will reduce by 2050 the CO2 emissions by 60 percent or 80 percent,” but they really need to have a specific strategy, and that, I do think, has to start with coal. If we would phase that out—oil—we’re going to hit peak oil very soon, if we haven’t already.
AMY GOODMAN: Which means?
DR. JAMES HANSEN: Which means that we have used half of the oil that’s readily available. And so, the amount—the emissions from oil are going to start to decline just because the supply of oil is limited. So that’s why coal becomes the issue. Now we’re starting to use more and more coal, and we just can’t do that unless we have the technology to capture the CO2.
AMY GOODMAN: How dire is the situation right now?
DR. JAMES HANSEN: It’s becoming dire, because we have to start within the next few years on a track—on a different track. We have to realize that we have to get to energy sources beyond fossil fuels, and we need to do that sooner. The fossil fuel companies want you to believe that, well, let’s use up all the fossil fuels, and then we’ll worry about what we’re going to do after that. Unfortunately, we can’t do that unless we capture the carbon dioxide.
Democracy Now!, 3-21-08

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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.

For analysis of the US mainstream news media's failure to treat global warming and climate change with accuracy or appropriae urgency, 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," "Farewell 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.

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