Monthly Archives: November 2013

Starfish Dying At Alarming Rate Along Entire United States West Coast

E120, e140,

Warsaw paves the way for apportioning the carbon budget based on use and distribution, not scarcity | India Environment Portal
Governing Climate and Sustainable Development
27 Nov 2013
Warsaw paves the way for apportioning the carbon budget based on use and distribution, not scarcity
By: Mukul Sanwal

Since all Parties are now going make “nationally determined contributions” towards mitigating climate change they will do so under Article 4.1 of the Convention, and the issue to be decided, by the ADP, will be what will be provided, and even more important, how these will be treated under Article 10 of the Convention – their assessment and review.

The common understanding so far is that “applicable to all” refers to these “contributions” and the separate treatment of developing and developed countries with respect to the national actions will continue. No one has suggested in these negotiations that developing countries cap their emissions in 2020. All the developed countries have already agreed in the Convention to the aim of returning their emissions to 1990 levels. So, the reporting – or communication of information – will be different.

The unresolved issue really is whether there will be an agreement to modify longer term trends (again, this is what developed countries agreed to do under the Convention in Art 4.2.a) and develop a global vision for ‘sharing responsibility and prosperity’.

A promising approach is provided in ‘The World Social Science Report 2013’, produced by the United Nations Education, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), prepared jointly with the International Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which was released during the Warsaw meeting, represents a wide spectrum of opinion and concludes that “the social sciences must help to fundamentally reframe climate and global environmental change from a physical into a social problem”.

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Frances Moore Lappé: Delicious Food Is Not An Indulgence—It’s a Way to Sol ve Our Ecological Crises
Since I first published “Diet for a Small Planet” in 1971, the movement for food that is good for our bodies and our planet has blossomed beyond what I ever imagined. Here’s how.

by Frances Moore Lappé
posted Nov 27, 2013

Photo by Paul Dunn for YES! Magazine.

I grew up in Cow Town. Or make that Fort Worth, Texas. It was the ’50s and supper was canned spinach with either meat loaf or with what my brother and I called “loose meat”—ground beef and canned mushroom soup. Iceberg lettuce and Jell-O rounded it out.

Food was not a big deal.

But when I ended up in Berkeley in the ’60s, food was a big deal. The food scene buzzed with experimentation. We rejected white-bread culture, and eating brown rice became a political statement. With stirfried veggies, what could be better? At the same time, food became my teacher: I spent long hours in the university agriculture library trying to figure out why there was so much hunger in the world. Were we really running out of food? Well, no, there was more than enough for all. I was more startled to discover that we humans are actually creating scarcity.

The global marketplace is driven by underlying economic rules that concentrate wealth and generate extreme inequality. Millions of people are too poor to pay market price for food. So grain that could feed the hungry instead becomes a raw material for a luxury product: grain-fed meat.

How illogical, how destructive! I don’t have to be part of that, I realized. It dawned on me that eating low on the food chain—a plant-centered diet—was best for others, my body, and the Earth. The ultimate win-win.

….(read more).

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Food-Matters http://Food-Matters.TV

Misled by Mainstream Media
Saturday, 30 November 2013 09:53
By L Michael Hager, Truthout | Op-Ed

(Photo: Phil Roeder / Flickr)
I love The New York Times. As soon as it appears at my door each morning, I eagerly read the news articles and editorial comment. Yet I increasingly feel I’m being misled: by headlines that beg questions; by frequent trade-offs of hard news for marginal human interest stories; and by the sometimes long lapses between reports on an ongoing story. If the country’s premier journal misleads me, what does this say about the rest of mainstream media?

We want our news to be honest and unbiased. So we rely on headlines that accurately state the gist of the article. Consider this headline that appeared in The New York Times on September 24: “Guantanamo Hunger Strike is Largely Over, US Says.” The reader might infer that the current number of hunger strikers is insignificant or even that the Guantanamo issue is dead. Yet the article itself states that “19 of the 164 detainees” (18 percent of the 106 strikers at their peak) are still participating in the strike. It fails to mention how many of them continue to be force-fed. Wouldn’t a more accurate headline have been: “Hunger Strike Still Continues for 19 at Guantanamo?”

Or take a more recent example. The Times of November 9 carried the following headline: “Talks with Iran Fail to Produce a Nuclear Agreement.” A reader could reasonably conclude that everything is off the table and that the talks are over. But not so. The text makes clear that the negotiations are continuing, with further meetings set to resume.

The Times, sometimes places relatively personal stories on the front page, taking space that could have addressed important public issues. Case in point: the front page, headlined story “Dispute Over Gay Marriage Erupts in Cheney Family,” which appeared in the Times of November 17. Or consider the November 8, 2013 headline titled, “Prized for His Aggression, Incognito Struggled to Stay in Bounds.” Does the quarrel between two NFL linemen really warrant front page exposure?

Perhaps the most serious omissions (and failures of followup) concern US drone attacks, Guantanamo prisoners, and Israel/Iran.

….(read more).

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Full Program | Saturday, November 30 2013

PBS NewsHour

Published on Nov 30, 2013

On this edition for Saturday, November 30, 2013, a report from the ground zero of climate change: Barrow, Alaska where a traditional way of life is under threat from industries like shipping opened up by melting ice. Also, is in shape for tomorrow’s deadline and what is at stake for the U.S. in the tensions between China and Japan over a small group of island in the East China Sea.

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Paddy Ashdown warns lack of action in climate change risks extreme weather
The former Liberal Democrat leader says the level of energy at the UN climate talks left him ‘speechless’

Paddy Ashdown said: ‘The Philippines disaster should have sent an urgent message demanding bold action.’ Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Lack of action in international climate change talks risks extreme weather events such as the typhoon that devastated the Philippines three weeks ago being repeated, Paddy Ashdown has warned.

The former Liberal Democrat leader said that the level of energy at the UN climate talks, which wrapped up in Warsaw last weekend, left him “speechless.” Writing in the Guardian, Ashdown also said that climate change is contributing to extreme weather events, that the role of human-caused emissions in global warming is having fatal consequences and that typhoon Haiyan is a preview of what the future holds.

Referring to the nearly 200 countries that met last week to work towards a global deal to tackle climate change, Ashdown said: “The Philippines disaster should have sent an urgent message demanding bold action to protect children from disasters like these and delivered plans for how we can effectively rebuild when the worst happens, but the lack of energy has left me speechless.”

The talks opened with an emotive appeal from the Philippines lead negotiator, who linked the typoon to climate change and pleaded with delegates to “stop this [climate] madness.” Yeb Sano also fasted for the fortnight-long talks, prompting a petition that attracted nearly three quarters of a million signatures, calling for “major steps” at the talks. The negotiations ended with an agreement that governments would lay out their targets for future emissions cuts in just over a year’s time, as part of efforts to secure an international deal at the end of 2015, at talks in Paris.

…(read more).

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Typhoon Haiyan: climate change is increasing the intensity of extreme weather events | Paddy Ashdown | Environment |

Posted by Friday 29 November 2013 11.52 EST

Far from being isolated, the Philippines typhoon Haiyan followed other extraordinary meteorological events that are becoming more frequent and increasingly severe

A Philippine Air Force crewman looks out from his helicopter over the typhoon Haiyan-ravaged city of Tacloban. Photograph: Dita Alangkara/AP

Three weeks ago the most powerful typhoon ever recorded to hit land destroyed parts of the Philippines. The devastation has been catastrophic, flattening homes, schools and hospitals and leaving thousands dead and 5.5 million children affected.

Unicef has worked in the Philippines since 1948 and experienced staff returning from the worst affected areas such as Leyte are reporting having never seen anything like this – not even after the Asian tsunami on Boxing day almost a decade ago. They have seen hundreds of kilometres of coconut groves literally blown away by 300kph winds. A coconut tree takes 12 years to grow, so this is a decade of livelihoods wiped out in a single storm.

I am incredibly concerned about the children who are without a doubt the most vulnerable right now. But as the immediate shock of the typhoon news reports begin to fade from people’s memories we need to address with energy and decision the true facts behind the intensity of the Philippines typhoon.

If the Philippines typhoon was an isolated incident, it would be a meteorological phenomenon, but the real worry is that far from being isolated, these events are both frequent and increasingly severe. This typhoon comes on top of other extraordinary meteorological events that have occurred recently; unprecedented floods caused by a cyclone in Sardinia last week; unprecede

….(read more).

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Israel Dreams Of A Future As An Oil Producer : Parallels : NPR

by Emily Harris, November 27, 2013 3:21 AM

Givot Olam CEO Tovia Luskin expects to drill 40 wells and build a pipeline to a refinery on the coast. The company already has “proven and probable” reserves of 12.5 million barrels of oil. Luskin chose where to drill based on a passage from the Bible.

Emily Harris/ NPR

There’s an old joke that if Moses had turned right when he led Jewish tribes out of Egypt, Israel might be where Saudi Arabia is today — and be rich from oil. Consultant Amit Mor of Eco Energy says that joke is out of date.

“Israel has more oil than Saudi Arabia,” he claims. “And it’s not a joke.”

But that oil will be difficult to reach, . The oil he’s talking about is not yet liquid but is trapped in rocks underground.

“Maybe, if technology will be proved viable, Israel can meet all of its needs from domestic production of oil,” Mor says.

That is precisely the dream of Israel Energy Initiatives, an Israeli company backed by major U.S. investors.

“The motivation of our investors starts with the energy independence for Israel,” says Relik Shafir, its CEO.

He explains that extracting the oil would be a long, slow process. involves placing electric heaters in an 8-inch pipe about 1,000 feet below the ground.

“Through a slow heating process that may take two to three years, it turns the organic part of the rock into gases and liquids,” Shafir says.

Commercial production is at least a decade away, and the hurdles aren’t just technical. They are environmental and political as well.

…(read more).

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Storm expert says climate change may have played a big role in Typhoon Haiyan after all

Credit: Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
(L) Satellite image of Typhoon Haiyan, superimposed on the spot in the Gulf of Mexico where Hurricane Katrina reached its maximum strength in 2005, and (R) actual satellite image of Katrina. Colors correspond to temperatures in Celsius. Temperatures at the tops of tropical storms roughly correspond to storm intensity, with colder temperatures above generally indicating a more intense storm below.

We’ve heard that climate change likely played a very minor role in the havoc that typhoon Haiyan wrought on the Philippines.

And that’s what we reported in the days right after the massive storm blasted across the country in early November, killing thousands, leaving tens of thousands homeless and destroying huge swaths of the country’s transportation and public services infrastructure.

But in the couple of weeks since then, our primary source for that story has taken a deeper look at the storm and has found that climate change may have played a much bigger role in its damage than he initially thought.

Soon after Haiyan hit, Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at MIT and one of the world’s leading experts on tropical storms, told The World that the influence of climate change was probably small.

“Certainly it played a role in one obvious respect,” Emanuel said at the time, “in that sea levels are elevated, and so the storm surge, which is a big killer… was higher than it would’ve been. Beyond that, it’s difficult, and perhaps impossible, to attribute one particular event to any kind of climate signal, whether it’s global warming or el Niño or some other phenomenon.”

….(read more).

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Saved by the Mangroves? A Philippine town dodges Haiyan’s storm surge

Credit: Ulises Rodriguez/Reuters
Mangrove trees like these absorb and dissipate much of the energy of the storm surge from a hurricane or typhoon. The Philippines has lost as much as 70% of its mangrove stands, but residents credit those remaining on islands near the town of General MacArthur with protecting them from the storm surge of Supertyphoon Haiyan.

What’s an ecosystem worth — a swamp, a meadow, a bunch of trees? It can be hard to put a value on these kinds of places, which is why so many of them have been bulldozed and turned into things that have more obvious economic value.

But the residents of General MacArthur, a small Philippine community in the path of Super Typhoon Haiyan, probably wouldn’t trade their mangrove trees for anything.

The town in Eastern Samar province is named after the American general who defeated the Japanese here in World War II. And now it has another memorable distinction: it largely survived the typhoon that just about leveled the nearby city of Tacloban.

And General MacArthur residents say they have their mangrove trees to thank.

…(read more).

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