During President Obama’s first state visit to China, the two leaders said at a joint news conference that the two sides are “committed to working together and with other countries in the weeks ahead for a successful outcome at Copenhagen.”
There, from December 7 through 18, governments will attempt to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that are increasingly warming the climate. Whatever agreement they reach is expected to take effect when the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period expires at the end of 2012.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addresses the APEC meeting. (Photo courtesy APEC)
But the meaning of what a “successful outcome” is shifted over the weekend….
The spending review committee established by Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, has recommended that funding for the Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation be cancelled after 2010.
The OFCF is the largest financer of the Tokyo-based Institute of Cetacean Research, which runs the Japanese whaling program. The whaling fleet usually sails for the Southern Ocean in mid-November, hunting whales for scientific research regardless of a moratorium on commercial whaling set by the International Whaling Commission in 1986.
Would we listen to nature if our lives depended on it?
PEOPLE WHO READ MY WORK often say, “Okay, so it’s clear you don’t like this culture, but what do you want to replace it?” The answer is that I don’t want any one culture to replace this culture. I want ten thousand cultures to replace this culture, each one arising organically from its own place. That’s how humans inhabited the planet (or, more precisely, their landbases, since each group inhabited a place, and not the whole world, which is precisely the point), before this culture set about reducing all cultures to one….
Too many words, but some nice imagery and ideas.
On October 24, the people of the Maldives will hold the largest underwater political demonstration in history, a momentary intrusion of the noisy outside world into the quiet timelessness of the reef. I doubt the floating stingrays will mind, or the green sea turtles, or the clouds of parrotfish—they seem to look on with mild interest at everything that happens. But this will be a scene: 350 divers descending beneath the waves with signs and banners. A local photographer will snap a picture and swim to the surface and plug in his MacBook Pro and upload that image to a server. And there it will join thousands of other images piling in from all the other local places around the planet: …
According to a high tech study commissioned by a concerned Mayor Bloomberg and generously funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, climate change caused by human-created greenhouse gases is threatening the health, livelihood, and security of New Yorkers—especially those who take the subway to work….
Be sure to drill down.
The report, “Environmental Assessment of the Gaza Strip: following the escalation of hostilities in December 2008-January 2009,” was requested in February by the UNEP Governing Council, made up of environment ministers from 58 countries, including Israel and the United States.
“The international community has indicated its willingness to assist with providing technical, financial and diplomatic assistance in order to turn environmental restoration into an opportunity for cooperation and restoration,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
The report finds that strikes on buildings and other infrastructure have generated 600,000 metric tonnes of demolition debris, some of which is contaminated with asbestos. The removal and safe disposal of rubble is calculated at over US$7 million.
An estimated 17 percent of cultivated land, including orchards and greenhouses, was severely affected. The report estimates the costs in terms of damage to farmers’ livelihoods alongside clean-up measures at around US$11 million.
Other impacts include sewage spills as a result of power cuts to treatment facilities. Some of the sewage is likely to have percolated through the Gaza Strip’s porous soils into the groundwater, the report finds.
Dam projects by neighbouring states are drastically reducing the flow of the Tigris and Euphrates and helping to turn a once-fertile plain into desert. Phil Sands and Nizar Latif report as an environmental crisis deepens
WASHINGTON, DC, August 26, 2009 (ENS) – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation, wants to put climate change science on trial.
In an attempt to head off a U.S. EPA finding that climate change endangers public health and welfare in the United States, the Chamber Tuesday petitioned the federal agency for a trial-like hearing of the scientific evidence before an administrative judge or EPA official.
These people are absolutely shameless! They will do anything to keep making money, and to hell with the planet. Literally.
A FEW MONTHS AGO at a gathering of activist friends someone asked, “If our world is really looking down the barrel of environmental catastrophe, how do I live my life right now?”
The question stuck with me for a few reasons. The first is that it’s the world, not our world. The notion that the world belongs to us—instead of us belonging to the world—is a good part of the problem.
The second is that this is pretty much the only question that’s asked in mainstream media (and even among some environmentalists) about the state of the world and our response to it. The phrase “green living” brings up 7,250,000 Google hits, or more than Mick Jagger and Keith Richards combined (or, to look at it another way, more than a thousand times more than the crucial environmental philosophers John A. Livingston and Neil Evernden combined). If you click on the websites that come up, you find just what you’d expect, stuff like “The Green Guide: Shop, Save, Conserve,” “Personal Solutions for All of Us,” and “Tissue Paper Guide for Consumers.”
The third and most important reason the question stuck with me is that it’s precisely the wrong question. By looking at how it’s the wrong question, we can start looking for some of the right questions. This is terribly important, because coming up with right answers to wrong questions isn’t particularly helpful. More…
…some people believe libertarians and other conservatives have punted on climate change simply because they’re in bed with the fossil fuel companies—that they’ve taken lots of money from dirty energy and now do the bidding of their masters. This is undoubtedly true of plenty of individual politicians, but one hopes—fervently—that it isn’t true of the millions of thoughtful people and groups that need to be a part of a crucial debate. …
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, told reporters Monday it is important that leaders of the Group of Eight, G8 and nine other nations at the Major Economies Forum in Italy recognized that the global average temperature should not increase by more than two degrees Celsius, an “aspirational goal” which they had not agreed on or discussed earlier.
But, he said, they disregarded the IPCC’s findings that emissions will have to peak in 2015 and then rapidly decline to avert the worst consequences of global warming….