08 December, 2019

Planting Billions of Trees Is the 'Best Climate Change Solution Available Today,' Study Finds

Planting more than 500 billion trees could remove around 25 percent of existing carbon from the atmosphere, a new study has found. What's more: there's enough space to do it. 
Image result for Planting Billions of Trees Is the 'Best Climate Change Solution Available Today,' Study Finds
London skyline and Primrose Hill Park. 
The study, published in Science Friday, set out to assess how much new forest the earth could support without encroaching on farmland or urban areas and came up with a figure of 0.9 billion hectares, an area roughly the size of the U.S., BBC News reported. That makes reforestation "the most effective solution" for mitigating the climate crisis, the researchers concluded.
"Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today and it provides hard evidence to justify investment," senior study author and ETH-Zürich Professor Tom Crowther said, as BBC News reported. "If we act now, this could cut carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by up to 25 percent, to levels last seen almost a century ago."
The new trees would remove around 200 gigatonnes of carbon, or two thirds of what humans have pumped into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution.

Australia fires: heatwave forecast amid calls for emergency meeting

Firefighters have taken advantage of less extreme conditions to try to contain blazes burning across New South Wales ahead of worsening conditions and soaring temperatures expected on Tuesday.
A bushfire
More than 100 bushfires were still burning across
New South Wales on Sunday, including the massive
Gospers Mountain blaze.
More than 100 fires were still burning across NSW on Sunday, including the massive Gospers Mountain blaze, which is expected to burn for weeks.
Meanwhile, on Kangaroo Island, a bushfire burning at Newland was also posing a threat to lives.
Amid the ongoing bushfire crisis, which has claimed six lives and more than 1,000 homes, the federal opposition restated its call for an emergency Council of Australian Governments meeting to discuss a national response to the bushfire emergency.
Conditions eased on Sunday as a result of slackening winds and more moisture in the air, which allowed fire crews to conduct backburning before conditions deteriorate again.

Read the story from The Guardian by Lisa Cox and Amy Remeikis - “Australia fires: heatwave forecast amid calls for emergency meeting.”

Peter Garrett urges Labor to reconnect with environmental movement, warns 'true believers are dying’

Midnight Oil frontman and environmental campaigner Peter Garrett has urged Labor to stare down the "self-interest" within its ranks and commit to ambitious plans to avoid the "catastrophe" of climate change.
Former Labor minister Peter Garrett says the party must stare down those within its ranks not committed to acting on climate change.
Former Labor minister Peter Garrett says the party must stare
down those within its ranks not committed to acting on climate change. 
Warning that the suburbs of western Sydney and Melbourne are being "crucified on the altar of inaction" and regional and rural communities were "hostage to climate damage", the former Labor minister said the party's true believers are "dying out" and a younger generation of voters will be "more radical and less forgiving" if it fails to act.

Green washing and the psychology of climate change denial

Humans live in a bubble of self-delusion in which the perceived short-term imperatives of the market have been prioritised above the need for a sustainable planet. Corporations and governments are cynically exploiting the space between public perception and scientific fact, lulling us into a false sense of security that climate change is a problem for the future, rather than an urgent that must be addressed in order for the species to secure its long-term future.
In 1978, the Australian social scientist, Alex Carey, pointed out that the 20th Century has been characterised by three developments of great political importance: “the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.”
One of the key public relations strategies among the vested corporate interests that deny the scientific consensus on climate change, is to cynically exploit the space that exists between public perception and scientific fact, sometimes referred to as the “consensus gap.”

Read the Medium story by Daniel Margrain - “Green washing and the psychology of climate change denial.”

07 December, 2019

Making Climate Real: Climate Consciousness, Culture and Music.

Image result for kings law journal logoOur world is in deep trouble. We face an existential emergency from ‘rapid climate disruption’1 and it is now clear that continuing with business as normal will not provide a safe or viable future for humanity. This disruption is not limited to humans but is also contributing to what has been called the ‘sixth extinction’.2 This rapid decline in biodiversity3 is part of a tangled web of profound challenges to planetary boundaries, what Rockström and colleagues call a ‘safe operating space’ for humanity.4 We have already exceeded the estimated safe operating space for six of the nine planetary boundaries, with two, biochemical flows and biosphere integrity, in the high risk category. In response to these challenges a number of jurisdictions are declaring climate emergencies akin to the sort of social and economic mobilisation that took place in Britain during the Second World War.5 Following the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their 2018 report on staying under 1.5°C.6 With uncharacteristic bluntness the report stated that this would require the world’s economies to reach net zero emissions by 2050. On the current level of emissions reduction commitments the planet will warm by 3.1 to 3.7°C.7 Reducing emissions to net-zero is a challenging task, given the denial, obfuscation and resistance towards effective action to date. Some commentators argue that if the world’s carbon emissions do not begin to fall by 2020 then ‘the temperature goals set in Paris become almost unattainable’.8 If that is the case, and it seems likely, then warming of 2°C would produce, in the words of Princeton University Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Michael Oppenheimer, a ‘totally different worldIt would be indescribable, it would turn the world upside down in terms of its climate. There would be nothing like it in the history of civilisation.’9


Read the piece from the Kings Law Journal by Simon Kerr and Christine Parker -  “Making Climate Real: Climate Consciousness, Culture and Music.

Should we call climate change an emergency?

The term Climate Emergency has appeared in public discourse with remarkable speed and is now increasingly the language of not just the climate movement, but also a growing number of cities, states, parliaments and Universities. Yet it is not without its critics who argue the language of emergency may have unintended consequences by providing license for potentially dangerous interventions in the climate system, such as solar geoengineering. This article briefly reviews where the term came from, its current influence, risks and prospects.
Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of forest fires.
None of what follows reduces the urgency and seriousness of the climate crisis. In 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their most blunt report to date, stating that to stay under 1.5ºC requires the world economies to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Some researchers have since argued that climate change is happening faster than the IPCC has anticipated, potentially breaching the 1.5ºC temperature threshold by 2030. With still rising emissions, and bereft of a politically viable plan to date, current projections point to a 3ºC plus world before the end of this century, with the high risk of crossing climate thresholds from which we may not be able to escape. This is the risk, but not yet the unavoidable future; the world still has capacity to ensure a less dangerous future climate.

Read the story from Medium by Simon Kerr - “Should we call climate change an emergency?

A Blueprint for Europe’s Just Transition.

On December 3, the Green New Deal for Europe launched its new landmark report, A Blueprint for Europe’s Just Transition.

The publication coincides with the arrival of the new European Commission, which has promised to deliver a “green deal” within its first 100 days (read the leaked contents of that “green deal” here) — an all-together uninspiring vision that we believe is doomed to fail.
The report sets out an alternative vision for a Green New Deal — one that gets Europe to carbon neutrality by 2030 while delivering environmental justice across the continent and around the world. The report also includes a new chapter, Pathways to the Green New Deal for Europe, on the politics to bring this vision to reality.
To accompany the report, we are publishing an open letter to President Ursula von der Leyen — co-signed by Yanis Varoufakis, Bill McKibben, Daniela Gabor Jason Hickel, Ann Pettifor and many many others — taking her to task for the deficits of the so-called “green deal.”

Read the story from Roar Magazine - “A Blueprint for Europe’s Just Transition."