Thursday, March 19, 2009

Christians to lead 'funeral march' over climate change

Christians from across the country will gather in Coventry today (Thursday), for a national Climate Change Day of Action, which will include a funeral procession through the City.

The day will begin with a midday service in Coventry Cathedral, followed by a march and rally in the city centre.

The Day of Action is being organised by Christian Aid in partnership with CAFOD, the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition and the World Development Movement. Campaigners are calling on the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and other world leaders to ensure that the plight of the world's poorest countries is central to crucial climate change talks taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark in December.

Unchecked population growth is a suicide bomb

We are weapons of mass destruction. We are the suicide bombers hiding sure destruction under our clothing.

Collectively, we are the major terrorist threat that will destroy the American dream of an ever-better tomorrow even if we manage to not destroy the nation itself. The 60 million residents we will add during the next 21 years will certainly damage our quality of life and that damage will be lengthy and extensive.

***** France's nuke power poster child has a money melt-down
The myth of a successful nuclear power industry in France has melted into financial chaos. With it dies the corporate-hyped poster child for a "nuclear renaissance" of new reactor construction that is drowning in red ink and radioactive waste. Areva, France's nationally-owned corporate atomic fa├žade, has plunged into a deep financial crisis led by a devastating shortage of cash.

Europe 'living beyond its means' when it comes to water use
Don't expect the future to look much like the past, at least when it comes to the Earth's fresh water supplies. That's the message emerging from a major international meeting being held here this week. More than 27,000 people -- including government ministers from more than 120 countries -- have gathered for the 5th World Water Forum. But in this ancient city, where the thin ribbon of the Bosporus divides Europe and Asia and massive Roman waterworks still dot the landscape, it's the Earth's shifting climate that is on delegates' minds.

United States, 100 tons of coal are extracted every two seconds

In the United States, 100 tons of coal are extracted every two seconds. Around 70 percent of that coal comes from strip mines, and over the last 20 years, an increasing amount comes from mountaintop-removal sites in Appalachia.

Mountaintop removal is one of the most egregious environmental and social justice disasters in America today. This extreme mining practice, taking place largely in the Appalachians, has destroyed at least 500 mountains (1.5 million acres of land) resulting in a huge amount of largely unreported ecological damage and countless ruined lives.

Honest accounting of pollution's true costs

Twenty years ago the Exxon Valdez plowed onto Bligh Reef in a pristine Alaskan inlet and let loose 11 million gallons of crude oil while the captain slept and the Coast Guard ignored the ship's course. The deadly viscous goo that devastated fish, birds and other wildlife seared our consciousness as a symbol of environmental negligence and brought calls for greater safety measures to protect our fragile world.

Two decades later, our global climate is perilously warming, and our economy has run aground as its captains ignored the dangers in a binge of profiteering and risky economic shortcuts. Our poor treatment of the environment and neglectful stewardship of the economy share a genesis. Both result from a fixation on short-term financial results, our stubborn denial of consequences, and a refusal to prudently protect our future.

******* 90% of Americans support action on global warming despite economic crisis
Even in the midst of a growing economic crisis, over 90 percent of Americans said that the United States should act to reduce global warming, according to a national survey released on Wednesday.

    The survey, conducted by researchers at Yale and George Mason Universities, showed that 34 percent of respondents said the United States should make a large-scale effort, even if it has large economic costs.

In Search of the Climate's Tipping Point,8599,1885804,00.html
Yet the global response to global warming — one of fits and starts, with more hot air than real focus — doesn't exactly resemble the mobilizing opening scenes of disaster flicks like Armageddon or Deep Impact. Quite the opposite, as fears over the recession grow, climate change may be receding from the public consciousness. A Gallup poll released last week found that a record-high 41% of Americans believe that the threat of global warming is exaggerated in the news media, up from 30% in 2006. Though a majority of Americans are still a "fair amount" or a "great deal" concerned about climate change, that proportion has hardly changed in recent years, even as the preponderance of scientific evidence has increasingly supported the danger of global warming and the speed with which it is occurring. The asteroid is out there, and yet we remain reluctant to heed the warnings. Why?

Obama pressed for mountaintop removal ban

Various environmental group lawyers, activists and citizens met in Washington with top officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the federal Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement.

Specifically, the mining opponents want EPA to use its Clean Water Act authority to step in and block the corps from issuing the new permits, and they want the CEQ to back up such a move by EPA.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

******Hansen warned that the new treaty is "guaranteed to fail" to bring down emissions.

Protest and direct action could be the only way to tackle soaring carbon emissions, a leading climate scientist has said.

James Hansen, a climate modeller with Nasa, told the Guardian today that corporate lobbying has undermined democratic attempts to curb carbon pollution. "The democratic process doesn't quite seem to be working," he said.

A Nuclear Waste
Today, the DOE's main task is managing the thousands of facilities involved in producing nuclear weapons during the cold war, and the associated cleanup of dozens of contaminated sites. Approximately two-thirds of its annual budget, which is roughly $27 billion, is spent on these activities, while only 15 percent is allocated for all energy programs, including managing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and researching and developing new technologies.

Energy Chief Says U.S. Is Open to Carbon Tariff
Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday advocated adjusting trade duties as a "weapon" to protect U.S. manufacturing, just a day after one of China's top climate envoys warned of a trade war if developed countries impose tariffs on carbon-intensive imports.  

Mr. Chu, speaking before a House science panel, said establishing a carbon tariff would help "level the playing field" if other countries haven't imposed greenhouse-gas-reduction mandates similar to the one President Barack Obama plans to implement over the next couple of years. It is the first time the Obama administration has made public its view on the issue.

"If other countries don't impose a cost on carbon, then we will be at a disadvantage...[and] we would look at considering perhaps duties that would offset that cost," Mr. Chu said.

*****Global warming: Americans care less.

Sixty percent of all those queried — down from 66% last year — say global warming is a problem they personally worried about either "a great deal" or "a fair amount."

And a record high, 41% of those interviewed, believed the media "generally exaggerates" the seriousness of global warming. That was up from 35% last year, and only 30% in 2006.

U.S., China worlds apart on climate change curbs

"For many developing countries, not only China, we produce the products for the consumers, especially in developed countries," Li said. He argued it wouldn't be fair to hold China accountable because "we are on the lower end of the economic chain of the global economy."

Li also said it would be a "disaster" - and possibly the start of a trade war - for the U.S. to impose tariffs on imports from China or other countries that didn't have mandatory emissions controls. He said the tariffs would be unfair and a violation of trade rules.

Canada: Greenpeace blocks nuclear station to tell Nuclear Energy Minister George Smitherman: Don’t Nuke Green Energy
"Greenpeace is blocking the Pickering reactor station because Nuclear Energy Minister George Smitherman is blocking green energy in Ontario," said Greenpeace energy campaigner Shawn-Patrick Stensil. "The spin around Smitherman's proposed Green Energy Act is cynical greenwashing to hide the fact that his nuclear plans will rob green energy of the funding needed for development."

Low-level waste emerges as hurdle for new nuclear reactors
While President Obama's plan to find alternatives to storing high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nev., is grabbing headlines, another problem has begun threatening license applications for new reactors.

What can be done with low-level nuclear waste?

There are dwindling places to put low-level nuclear waste -- contaminated resins, filters, wood, paper, plastics, pipes, structural steel and pressure vessels that can be hazardous for up to 500 years. And nuclear-power opponent groups are filing and winning legal fights to force utilities to present disposal plans for low-level waste before they can build a new reactor.

Rising sea levels threaten one in ten people by 2100
Sea levels could rise more than a metre by 2100 threatening ten percent of the world's population unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed, scientists have warned.

Warming oceans and melting glaciers and polar ice sheets mean some 600 million people living in low lying coastal areas are in danger being flooded, according to research presented at last week's (March 10-12) International Scientific Congress on Climate Change at the University of Copenhagen.

China wants importers to cover some emission costs
Countries that buy Chinese goods should be held responsible for the carbon dioxide emitted by the factories that make them in any global plan to reduce greenhouse gases, a Chinese official said on Monday.

"About 15 percent to 25 percent of China's emissions come from the products which we make for the world, which should not be taken by us," said Gao Li, director of China's Department of Climate Change.

Drowning islands warn of future perils for 'environmental refugees'

The only problem with this idyllic scene is that the water is getting closer; slowly but surely, as global warming bites and sea levels rise, the islands are being swallowed up, leaving the few hundred inhabitants pondering an uncertain future.

"King tides and sea surges are floodling the island to a knee high and it is difficult for the salt water to dry up," says Ursula Rakova, a Carteret islander and campaigner.

"Fruit trees and nut trees have lost their leaves and only skeleton branches are left standing. The only greenery is from coconut and sago palms... People have no garden food to feed on... We have lost more than 60 percent of our land already."

Rethinking costs of FutureGen — again
The Bush administration's decision to halt production of an experimental power plant that would capture and store carbon dioxide emissions underground may have set back "clean coal" technology in the United States by as much as a decade, according to a congressional report released at a hearing last week.

Also, cost estimates used as justification for killing the commercial-scale project known as FutureGen were grossly exaggerated because Department of Energy officials did not account for inflation, according to a Government Accountability Report, also released last week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

14 Arrested in Anti-Coal Action at TVA Headquarters

United Mountain Defense and Mountain Justice Take a Stand in Knoxville. 

Watch out King Coal, we're coming for you.

Today, fourteen activists from local Appalachian communities and other parts of the country were arrested at Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) headquarters in Knoxville, TN.

United Mountain Defense
and Mountain Justice organized the action against the public-private entity which is the largest consumer of coal in the country and the biggest utility. In Dec. TVA caused a spill of coal ash waste 40 times the size of the Exxon Valdez that has caused serious health problems for people in eastern Tennessee.

Join the Cliffside Climate Action April 20 Charlotte, NC

This Earth Day join hundreds from across North Carolina and beyond as we converge on Duke Energy's headquarters to demand that they cancel their climate change time bomb; the new 800 megawatt Cliffside coal plant. If built, Cliffside would emit 6 million tons of CO2 each year, and would be fueled by coal from mountaintop removal mines.

It is clear that coal is killing us. We cannot stand by as Duke poisons our air, destroys the Appalachian mountains, and fans the flames of climate change for the sake of profit. We demand a sustainable, livable planet, free from dirty energy. Honor the Earth this year by coming to Charlotte, NC to take action to stop Cliffside, mountaintop removal, and all new coal plants. The future is up to us. We will stop this plant!

****Climate Change? Try, Climate Breakdown
What's clear from Copenhagen is that policymakers have fallen behind the scientists: global warming is already catastrophic

Crippled without Laptop - Sorry. Getting wwwaaayyy behind on Posting.

Expert Says Days of 'Easy Water' Are Over
The fifth World Water Forum opened on Monday in Istanbul, Turkey. Thousands of people are at the meeting - from heads of state and environmental and business leaders to scientists and activists - to discuss ways to manage and conserve the precious resource. The meeting comes as the United Nations warns of potential conflicts over water scarcity.

Water scarcity is one of the key issues dominating the Forum. Last week, the United Nations released its latest research on water, which paints a bleak picture of increasing demand and diminishing supplies.

World leaders urge sustainable water development
World leaders signed a water consensus on Monday at the 5th World Water Forum, underlining the importance of sustainable development of water.

The leaders met during the forum on Monday afternoon, which appealed for concrete action of governments around the world to highlight the role water plays in development and society.

Plan B: scientists get radical in bid to halt global warming ‘catastrophe’

THE director of a Nasa space laboratory will this week lead thousands of climate change campaigners through Coventry in an extraordinary intervention in British politics.

James Hansen plans to use Thursday's Climate Change Day of Action to put pressure on Gordon Brown to wake up to the threat of climate change - by halting the construction of new power stations and the expansion of airports, with schemes such as the third runway at Heathrow.

Monday, March 16, 2009

UN warns of rising demand for clean water
Worldwide demand for water is rising just as access to safe drinking water and sanitation remains inadequate in much of the developing world, the United Nations said Monday, calling for better management to alleviate water shortages.

Population growth and mobility, as well as increased energy production, especially of biofuels such as ethanol, are contributing to the high demand for water, UNESCO said on the first day of a global water forum in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city.

"global warming is already catastrophic."
 What's clear from Copenhagen is that policymakers have fallen behind the scientists: global warming is already catastrophic.

    The more we know, the grimmer it gets.

    Presentations by climate scientists at this week's conference in Copenhagen show that we might have underplayed the impacts of global warming in three important respects:

Forget what you know about carbon emissions

Governments around the globe are firming up their positions of climate change issues prior to the UN discussions in December in Copenhagen.

But some of the newest technologies coming out of research institutions such as the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego have the potential to render some of those decisions obsolete.

Scientists are grim, economists more optimistic about climate change's effects
Scientists are gloomy; economists are more upbeat. Such was the bottom line of an epic, three-day international congress of climate change experts that ended here yesterday.

Plan for huge wind farm moves forward
A $1 billion proposal to build the first massive U.S. offshore wind-power farm has moved a step closer to overcoming permit requirements in Massachusetts, where it faces opposition from some influential residents.

Cape Wind Associates LLC, a privately funded Boston-based energy company, has proposed constructing 130 wind turbines over 24 square miles (62 sq km) in Nantucket Sound, within view of the wealthy Cape Cod resort region of Massachusetts.

It takes a village to stop razing Appalachia
We've reached a new landmark in the central Appalachian coalfields of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and southwest Virginia: Over 500 mountains in one of the most diverse forests in the Americas -- the same kind of mountains that garner protection and preservation status in a blink of an eye in other regions -- -have now been eliminated from our American maps.

Gallup: Global warming skepticism growing in U.S.Gallup: Global warming skepticism growing in U.S.
More Americans are skeptical about the seriousness of global warming than ever before, according to a survey released this week by the Gallup organization.

Climate-change conference: They came, they talked, they left.

In some ways, the moment was Shakespearean, but without much drama: As for the delegates to the United Nations' climate-change conference that ended this past Saturday in Poznan, Poland, it could be said that they came, they talked and they departed. And that's about it.

Except that their gathering was marked by some very powerful refutations of the king.

**** Can America Make a Deal to Save the Planet?
There are two clocks ticking for the god-fearing climate-conscious among us. The first counts down to Copenhagen, where on December 7 representatives from 192 countries will hammer out a successor to the Kyoto Protocol: a post-2012 global climate deal aimed at curbing greenhouse gases. The second hurtles us toward disaster, a "mankind-threatening juggernaut," the point at which atmospheric carbon dioxide exceeds a concentration of 450 parts per million. To the extent that global warming is contingent on carbon emissions, the tipping point will be determined at the UN Framework Conference for Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, the last stop on the Bali Roadmap toward what UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer has called "the most complex international agreement that history has ever seen."