Category Archives: Climate Change

White House Council on Environmental Quality buries its head in sand on climate change ruling- DeSmog Blog

Over the past weekend Steve Horn published an important analysis of the recent federal decisions by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to not offer guidance to the federal agencies that it coordinates regarding energy policy and climate change. Industry pushback is given as a primary reason that the CEQ has dropped the ball.

Maybe organizers and participants at the September 17-24  Week of Action surrounding the People’s Climate March in New York can find a way to fit an objection into their busy “demands” list!

Photo from FOEI

Photo from FOEI

 Legal Case: White House Argues Against Considering Climate Change on Energy Projects

DeSmog Blog        Steve Horn

Just over a month before the United Nations convenes on September 23 in New York City to discuss climate change and activists gather for a week of action, the Obama White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) argued it does not have to offer guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to consider climate change impacts for energy decisions.

It came just a few weeks before a leaked draft copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest assessment said climate disruption could cause “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

Initially filed as a February 2008 petition to CEQ by the International Center for Technology Assessment, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) when George W. Bush still served as President, it had been stalled for years.

Six and a half years later and another term into the Obama Administration, however, things have finally moved forward. Or backwards, depending on who you ask.

Read the whole article here

Demand System Change!

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Monsanto suspected in Monarch butterfly population decline

Over the past 20 years, the Monarch butterfly population has decreased up to 90 percent, according to a study by Lincoln Brower, a leading Monarch researcher at Sweet Briar College. The culprit? In an article by Mike Kilen in the Des Moines Register, Brower points a stern finger toward Monsanto’s Roundup, which kills off milkweed, the caterpillar’s only food source.

A monarch butterfly pauses on a milkweed plant on Bill and Sibylla Brown’s land in Decatur County in southern Iowa. Milkweed is the monarch caterpillar’s only food. Photo: Photos Special to the Register

A monarch butterfly pauses on a milkweed plant on Bill and Sibylla Brown’s land in Decatur County in southern Iowa. Milkweed is the monarch caterpillar’s only food. Photo: Photos Special to the Register

The fact that it took 20 years to discover such a startling decrease in a species makes us wonder what else is declining from Roundup poisoning? And how long until we discover that? Often, it is too late for many animals whose habitats are coveted by human beings; let’s hope the Monarch stands a better chance.

Monarch butterflies dying — and Roundup is a suspect

by Mike Kilen, August 29, 2014, Des Moines Register

The monarch butterfly weighs a fourth of a gram, yet migrates thousands of miles every September through Iowa to overwintering grounds in Mexico.

[...]

It’s why on Monday Brower joined three nonprofit organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity, to petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to rule the monarch butterfly threatened and give it Endangered Species Act protection.

His studies have included visits to Iowa, a state that historically has been a prime territory for their birth, but now is at the center of his criticism.

He blames the decline in migration numbers on the widespread use of Roundup herbicide, used to kill milkweed but not the genetically-engineered row crops resistant to it. Milkweed is the monarch caterpillar’s only food.

Check out the full article, Monarch butterflies dying — and Roundup is a suspect, on the Des Moines Register.

 

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Labor Day Special: Chris Hedges calls out the Climate March

Chris Hedges posted a new piece at Truthdig yesterday, “The last Gasp of the Climate Change Liberals.” Besides getting directly to the point of the critiques associated with the September 21 Climate March, he gives a little love to Climate Connections founder and Global Justice Ecology Project’s Executive Director, Anne Petermann. This is a most important piece. Please read it.

Thanks Chris!

June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama  wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington.   Courtesy truthdig-AP Photo/Charles Dharpak

June 25, 2013, President Barack Obama wipes perspiration from his face as he speaks about climate change at Georgetown University in Washington. Courtesy TruthDig-AP Photo/Charles Dharpak

 

The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig. August 31, 2014.

The upcoming climate change march in New York is the last gasp of conventional liberalism. The time for reform and accommodation has ended. We will build a radical movement or be extinguished in a climate inferno.

The climate change march in New York on Sept. 21, expected to draw as many as 200,000 people, is one of the last gasps of conventional liberalism’s response to the climate crisis. It will take place two days before the actual gathering of world leaders in New York called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. The marchers will dutifully follow the route laid down by the New York City police. They will leave Columbus Circle, on West 59th Street and Eighth Avenue, at 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday and conclude on 11th Avenue between West 34th and 38th streets. No one will reach the United Nations, which is located on the other side of Manhattan, on the East River beyond First Avenue—at least legally. There will be no speeches. There is no list of demands. It will be a climate-themed street fair.

Read the Full Article Here

Click here to read Anne Peterman’s August 14, 2014 Climate Connections post, “The Need for Clear Connections at the People’s Climate March.”  

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E.O. Wilson has a plan to save the world

Eminent Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, the great champion of biodiversity and the man who coined the term “biophelia,” has a plan to save the world from extinction.

It is a plan to set aside half of the world for wildlife and ecosystems. His vision of permanently setting aside protected areas is described and partially mapped in this important new article published in the September issue of Smithsonian Magazine.

the familiar Monarch Butterfly (danaus plexippus) is in rapid decline in North America due to pesticide use, climate change, and loss of habitat. -photo by Jay Burney

The familiar Monarch Butterfly (danaus plexippus) is in rapid decline in North America due to pesticide use, climate change, and loss of habitat. Photo by Jay Burney

Can the World Really Set Aside Half of the World for Wildlife?
By Tony Hiss, Smithsonian Magazine. September 2014 

The eminent evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson has an audacious vision for saving Earth from a cataclysmic extinction event.

“Battles are where the fun is,” said E.O. Wilson, the great evolutionary biologist, “and where the most rapid advances are made.” We were sitting in oversized rocking chairs in a northwest Florida guest cottage with two deep porches and half-gallons of butter-pecan ice cream in the freezer, a Wilson favorite. He’d invited me here to look at what he considers a new approach to conservation, a new ecological Grail that, naturally, won’t happen without a fight.

Wilson, 85, is the author of more than 25 books, many of which have changed scientific understanding of human nature and of how the living part of the planet is put together.

Known as the father of sociobiology, he is also hailed as the pre-eminent champion of biodiversity: Wilson coined the word “biophilia” to suggest that people have an innate affinity for other species, and his now widely accepted “theory of island biogeography” explains why national parks and all confined landscapes inevitably lose species. He grew up in and around Mobile, Alabama, and has been at Harvard for over 60 years but still calls himself “a Southern boy who came north to earn a living.” He is courtly, twinkly, soft-spoken, has a shock of unruly white hair, and is slightly stooped from bending over to look at small things all his life—he’s the world’s leading authority on ants. Wilson has earned more than a hundred scientific awards and other honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes. And perhaps his most urgent project is a quest to refute conservation skeptics who think there isn’t enough left of the natural world to be worth saving.

Read More Here

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Florida governor fakes interest in climate change to grab votes

From Jeb Bush to Rick Scott, Floridians have had about as much luck with politicians as the 40-year-old Virgin did with the ladies. Of course, they do keep voting these boneheads into office, so our pity for their plight is limited.

In his latest charade as a human being with a conscience, Florida Republican governor Rick Scott, who has been adamant that climate change ranks up there with unicorns and Bigfoot, finally acquiesced and met with scientists. According to Farron Cousins of Desmogblog, the meeting was more about propaganda than protecting the environment.

Florida State University environmental science professor Jeffrey Chanton gives a presentation to Florida governor Rick Scott on climate change on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 in Tallahassee, Fla. Photo: Brendan Farrington/AP)

Florida State University environmental science professor Jeffrey Chanton gives a presentation to Florida governor Rick Scott on climate change on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 in Tallahassee, Fla. Photo: Brendan Farrington/AP

See, Scott’s biggest rival in the next election (Charlie Crist – again) does actually believe in climate change, so this meeting was all about Scott cleaning up his drill-baby-drill persona in order to nab the votes of those lucky folks living on the Florida’s soon-to-be-submerged coastlines.

Florida Governor Rick Scott Meets With Climate Scientists, Learns Nothing
by Farron Cousins, Desmogblog, August 26, 2014

[...]

Governor Scott recently met with prominent climate scientists from universities with the expressed goal of learning all that he could about climate change.  The truth, however, is that the entire experience was more of a publicity stunt than a science lesson.

According to the scientists, at least half of the thirty-minute meeting was spent with Scott asking questions about the scientists’ education, classes they teach, and various other “small talk” questions.  This left them only 15 minutes to explain the science behind anthropogenic climate change to the inattentive governor.

Check out the full article on Desmogblog. To read a play-by-play of the “meeting,” check out the aptly titled article, “After Climate Meeting, Scientists Still Aren’t Sure That Rick Scott Is ‘Climate Literate,’” by Katie Valentine from Think Progress.

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Scientists surprised by number of methane leaks in Atlantic, note terrifying climate change scenario

2013 Northeast US Canyons Expedition/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program via Science AAAS article linked below

2013 Northeast US Canyons Expedition/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program via Science online article linked below

The rebooted Cosmos was a fascinating series for all sorts of reasons, but perhaps one of its most memorable sequences was Neil DeGrasse Tyson ominously explaining what methane leaks can do in an already heating-up world. It’s just one more example of the chain of effects, each multiplying on the last in intensity, that happen in nature when it’s messed with too much.

Scientists Discover Hundreds Of Methane Leaks Bubbling From The Floor Of The Atlantic Ocean
By Jeff Spross, ThinkProgress. August 26, 2014.

In what could be a clue to the future effects of climate change, scientists have discovered a huge collection of methane leaks from the ocean floor off the United States’ eastern seaboard.

Their work, published Sunday in Nature Geoscience, used a research vessel equipped with sonar to map a 94,000-square-kilometer area that arcs from North Carolina up to Massachusetts. Within that expanse, according to Scientific American, they discovered around 570 separate plumes of bubbles rising from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. And while the scientists haven’t yet collected samples, the bubbles’ sources suggest they contain methane.

That raises the possibility that the hydrates, which are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature, are being melted by warming waters. That heat could be brought by natural cycles and variability — or by climate change. Another twist is that most of the methane is absorbed by the ocean long before it breaches the surface. The process reacts with oxygen and releases carbon dioxide, which in turn increases the acidification of the ocean in the vicinity. So there’s the possibility that warming waters from climate change could release more methane, thus further speeding up the ocean acidification that is itself being driven largely by humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions.

To read more from ThinkProgress, click here.

To read another great article, with an interesting debate forming in comments, go to Science online.

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Climate Activists need to demand system change!

System Change is needed. Without that, positive impacts on climate change will be a pipe dream

cochabamba2

The United Nations is gearing up for the COP 20 Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru in December of this year, and the  UN Climate Change Conference/COP21, to be held in Paris, France in late 2015. A primary goal of the Paris Climate Summit is to ratify a new legal agreement aimed at stemming climate change.

Many people across the earth are concerned UN efforts and these summits will come up far short of any meaningful goals.  This Inside Climate News article, MIT Study: Climate Talks on Path to Fall Far Short of Goals details some of the concerns.

In preparation for the Paris Summit, on 23 September of this year, the United Nations will hold a one day session on Climate Change.  This will garner significant press attention as world leaders including business and political mouthpieces continue to posture for “business as usual” solutions geared toward the potential 2015 legal agreement.

Preceding the one day UN session are two significant events in New York City that you can participate directly in. The Peoples Climate March will be held on Sunday Sept 21, 2014. Organizers are predicting that this will be the largest Climate March in history. Although organizers have not created any demands per se for the goals of the March they feel that press and media attention will go a long way toward establishing public support for change.

An affiliated event,  NYC Climate Convergence, will have an opening plenary session  Friday night 19 September. The weekend long event that will feature important speakers including Naomi Klein and Vandana Shiva, and is described as a weekend packed with skill-shares, teach-ins, speak outs, and protests. Global Justice Ecology Project, Biofuelwatch, and STOP GE Trees Campaign will be participating in these events. Climate Connections will cover these issues and events. Please send us your thoughts!

Our concerns go directly to both demands and the need for system change as the only way to catalyze real strategies that can help to slow down or eventually reverse the onrushing impacts of climate change. These impacts include vast and deadly human rights issues based on the catastrophic consequences of ecological eviseration and the commodification of natural resources and life.

Join us by demanding system change. Identifying the real solutions,  published by System Change Not Climate Change outlines some of the fundamental components of the Cochabamba Peoples Agreement, and it leads the story by referring to our own Green Shock Doctrine.  What could be better for a Monday primer on what’s coming our way in the next several weeks?

Global Justice Ecology Project’s executive director Anne Peterman posted this article “The Need for Clear Demands at the Peoples’ Climate March”  about her perspective at Daily Kos earlier in August.

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Human rights and environmental concerns intersect with the murders of Honduran children deported from the US

All across the globe people are displaced because of violence.

These displacements are stimulated by land grabs, often incentivized by economic policies and politics that turn traditional lands into plantations for so-called green energy strategies.

If you are a regular reader of Climate Connections you know that these include giant wind farms, genetically engineered tree plantations, biomass farms, or other exploitive economic schemes that loot the land and kill the people.

All across the globe there are real faces and real people that suffer the tremendous consequences of the kind of exploitation. It is rooted in the rise of the dominant culture that promotes profit for the few and an apocalypse for the many.

Global Justice Ecology Project focuses on these intersections and we have written about this frequently. Our publication Green Shock Doctrine is an important piece that promotes a fundamental need for systematic change as a strategy for transforming the planet to a truly livable and sustainable place for all of us.

Those that defend deportation of political, economic, and environmental refugees, those that stand next to busses of frightened and detained children along our borders, those that literally rock the busses and threaten to set fire to them, are either ignorant of the US role in the economic exploitation of these cultures and the resulting impact on climate change, or are deliberately set upon the poor people of the earth in a genocidal campaign to eliminate humanity from this earth.  Look into the lives of these children and their families and understand what we have done.

Five Children Murdered After They Were Deported Back to Honduras
By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee. ThinkProgress. August 19, 2014.

A volunteer brings water, food, and diapers to Central-American women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona. CREDIT: VALERIA FERNÁNDEZ/ AP

A volunteer brings water, food, and diapers to Central-American women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona.
CREDIT: VALERIA FERNÁNDEZ/ AP

Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.

San Pedro Sula morgue director Hector Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that his morgue has taken in 42 dead children since February. According to an interview with relatives by the LA Times, one teenager was shot dead hours after getting deported. Last year, San Pedro Sula saw 187 killings for every 100,000 residents, a statistic that has given the city the gruesome distinction as the murder capital of the world. That distinction has also been backed up by an U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency infographic, which found that many Honduran children are on the run from extremely violent regions “where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.” Hugo Ramon Maldonado of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras believes that about 80 percent of Hondurans making the exodus are fleeing crime or violence.

Read the whole article here.

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