Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: "If uncontrolled, climate change will have security implications of similar magnitude to the World Wars."

Image: Earth at Night, NASA

Climate Crisis & Sustainability Update: "If uncontrolled, climate change will have security implications of similar magnitude to the World Wars."

By Richard Power

On the cover of this week's Economist: The Silent Tsunami

On the cover of this week's Time Magazine: How to Win the War on Global Warming.

Too little too late?

Does the Bali road map lead anywhere?

Agreement on a new climate change treaty could run the risk of failure at talks in Copenhagen next year if governments do not narrow their differences, a top UN environmental official said Tuesday.
The result of this month's talks in Bangkok to discuss commitments to a road map for battling global warming did not bode well in the run-up to the 2009 meeting, said Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)...
Steiner warned there was as much a risk of failure in Copenhagen as success.
The meeting could lead to "one of the greatest failures of public policy consensus in the history of mankind" but it could also reach "an extraordinary agreement" among nations, he said.
Steiner called on the business community to play a bigger role in giving momentum to the process, which faces lacklustre political will.
Agence France Press, 4-22-08

When will climate change and sustainability be dealt with as what they are -- the greatest national security threat?

The two headed monster of climate crisis and sustainability is, indeed, a global security threat, i.e., one that all nations share in a common.

The report for Britain's Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) by environment expert Nick Mabey said the response had been "slow and inadequate" and to rectify it spending needed to surge to levels comparable to sums spent on counter-terrorism.
"If climate change is not slowed and critical environmental thresholds are exceeded, then it will become a primary driver of conflicts between and within states," said the report "Delivering Climate Security: International Security Responses to a Climate-Changed World".
"In the next decades, climate change will drive as significant a change in the strategic security environment as the end of the Cold War," said Mabey.
"If uncontrolled, climate change will have security implications of similar magnitude to the World Wars, but which will last for centuries," he added in the report for the RUSI, a leading forum for defence and security issues.
Experts in the sector should identify and analyse climate-induced security hot spots and communicate these findings to world leaders and the public at large.
The report said conflicts over natural resources had been a regular feature of history, but that the changing climatic conditions would exacerbate the problems with hundreds of millions of people displaced by droughts, floods and famines.
Reuters, 4-22-08

Will one of the smallest nations, which is also happens to be one of the most environmentally-aware nations, be among the first and hardest hit?

Isn't it ironic?

A land of breathtaking vistas, little pollution and great biodiversity, Bhutan regards conservation as one of its most important public-policy goals -- an anchor of "gross national happiness," the quirky measure of development concocted by the former king and upheld by his son, the current occupant of the throne.
Sustainable development is the official mantra. By law, the country's forest cover, including blue pine, cypress, spruce and hemlock, must never drop below 60%. Snow leopards, Himalayan black bears, barking deer and red pandas roam unmolested in the national parks and wildlife reserves that account for a quarter of Bhutan's territory. A sanctuary in the east is famous as the only one in the world set aside for the yeti -- or migoi, the mythical Abominable Snowman.
"This country is committed to being conducive to environmental sustainability and not to be harmful to the world, but the impact of climate change is coming anyway," said Doley Tshering of the United Nations Development Program office in Thimphu, the capital. "You know you haven't created the problem, [yet] you know you're probably having the worst of it."
Some shifting weather patterns are already being felt. ...
But possibly the most dramatic effect of global warming on Bhutan can be seen in its glaciers -- or, perhaps more accurately, not seen. ...
Experts estimate that Bhutan's glaciers are retreating by as much as 100 feet annually. The loss has grave consequences for the country's long-term development: Bhutan relies heavily on selling hydroelectric power, which accounts for about a third of national revenue.
"In the short run, we'll have increased summer flows, but after 40 years, it'll dry up," said Thinley Namgyel, a senior officer at Bhutan's National Environment Commission.
Of more immediate concern is the risk of floods from fast-filling glacial lakes.
Los Angeles Times, 4-20-8

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 over one 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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