Daily Archives: February 6, 2014

The 2014 State of the Union Address (Enhanced Version) – [Climate statement]

Full Speech:

Enhanced version:

Energy and climate change statements:

SOTU-Energy-env

Alternate portal:

The White House

Published on Jan 28, 2014

President Obama delivers the 2014 State of the Union address to Congress and the nation. January 28, 2014.

Global Climate Change
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Environment Ethics

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History: Elizabeth Kolbert

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

Global Climate Change
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135 Years of Global Ocean Warming – Perspectives on Ocean Science

University of California Television (UCTV)

Published on Sep 6, 2012

(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv/) A new study comparing past and present ocean temperatures reveals the global ocean has been warming for more than a century. Join Dean Roemmich, Scripps physical oceanographer and study co-author, as he describes how warm our oceans are getting, where all that heat is going, and how this knowledge will help scientists better understand the earth’s climate. Learn how scientists measured ocean temperature during the historic voyage of the HMS Challenger (1872-76) and how today’s network of ocean-probing robots is changing the way scientists study the seas. Series: “Perspectives on Ocean Science” [9/2012] [Science] [Show ID: 23999]

Global Climate Change
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Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb

TheSyndicateInfo

Published on Nov 18, 2013

Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb
Many thanks to:
Peter Sinclair – Greenman Studios
David Suzuki – David Suzuki Foundation
Dr. Guy McPherson – Professor Emeritus University of Arizona
Pauline Schneider – Filmmaker
Dr. Richard Somerville – Scripps Institution of Oceanography (wrong credit given in film)
Severn Cullis-Suzuki – Activist
Thom Hartmann – “The Man”
Dr. Natalia Shakhova – International Arctic Research Center
Nick Breeze – Filmmaker
Dr. James Hansen – NASA (Ret.)
Dr. Alun Hubbard – Aberystwyth University
Dr. Marco Tedesco – NOAA
James Balog – Filmmaker “Chasing Ice”
Dr. Peter Wadhams – University of Cambridge
David Wasdell – Apollo-Gaia Project
Omar Cabrera – Methanetracker.org
Lester R. Brown – Earth Policy Institute
Dr. Richard Milne – University of Edinburgh
Dan Miller – A REALLY Inconvenient Truth
Dr. Charles Miller – NASA JPL
Dr. Kevin Schaefer – USNSIDC
Dr. Jason Box – GEUS
Ben Abbott – University of Alasaka
John Tyndall – Tyndall Centre
Uli Hamacher – Filmmaker
Dr. Igor Semiletov – International Arctic Research Center
Dr. Richard Allen – Penn State University
and all the other whom made this film possible…

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EE Film Festival
EJ Film Festival
Climate Film Festival

FEMA: Caught between climate change and Congress

Posted on Thu, Feb. 06, 2014
By KATHERINE BAGLEY

InsideClimate News

Thanks to climate change, extreme weather disasters have hammered the United States with increasing frequency in recent years – from drought and wildfires to coastal storms and flooding.

It is perhaps surprising, then, that the U.S. agency in charge of preparing for and responding to these disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), doesn’t account for climate change in most of its budget planning and resource allocation or in the National Flood Insurance Program it administers.

“Climate change is affecting everything the agency does, and yet it isn’t given much consideration,” said Michael Crimmins, an environmental scientist at the University of Arizona who is leading a project to try to improve FEMA’s use of climate science data. “FEMA has to be climate literate in a way that many other agencies don’t have to be.”

A main problem, he and other experts say, is that FEMA doesn’t use short- or long-term climate science projections to determine how worsening global warming may affect its current operations and the communities it serves.

Instead, FEMA continues to base its yearly budget and activities almost entirely on historical natural disaster records.

That practice is exacerbated by the fact that the agency is at the mercy of economic and political pressures. In addition to having to deal with years of recession that ate into its budget, FEMA has repeatedly been caught in the crosshairs of partisan politics that forced funding cuts and blocked proposed increases.

And so while the number of billion-dollar-plus weather disasters in the United States has increased 5 percent a year since 1980, FEMA’s annual budget has stayed roughly the same, straining its ability to function.

“Recent events have been so big that they’ve swept through the agency, affecting every corner of funding,” Crimmins said. “It is hugely problematic. FEMA is reeling and saying, ‘Wait, we have to become more efficient at every timescale because this isn’t sustainable from a budget stand point.’ ”

In 2011, 14 natural disasters with price tags of $1 billion or more struck the United States. As a result, FEMA was forced to divert funds from long-term rebuilding projects to cover the immediate response needs – things like food, water and shelter – for victims of Hurricane Irene. It faced a similar budget crunch following Superstorm Sandy in 2012, a year that saw $11 billion-plus disasters. In fact, FEMA has needed Congress to approve additional disaster relief funds nearly every year over roughly the past decade to handle the mounting climate-related damage.

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, which provides coverage for more than 5.5 million Americans, faces particular risks from warming. It’s already $18 billion in debt from Hurricanes Katrina and Irene, Superstorm Sandy and other disasters. And that deficit will only increase. According to a FEMA-commissioned study, released last year, flood zones could grow 55 percent in size by 2100 from mainly climate change, but also population growth along coastlines – doubling enrollment in the program and straining the entire insurance system. The report, recommended by the Government Accountability Office back in 2007, could eventually influence recommendations about how to reform the flood insurance program.

The 35-year-old emergency response agency has about 7,500 employees scattered across the country and operates on an approximately $10 billion annual budget.

FEMA spokesman Dan Watson denied claims that the agency is dragging its feet on including climate threats in its current budgets and plans.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
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From Occupy to Climate Justice | The Nation

There’s a growing effort to merge economic-justice and climate activism. Call it climate democracy.

Wen Stephenson
February 6, 2014 | This article appeared in the February 24, 2014 edition of The Nation.

 

(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

It’s an odd thing, really. in certain precincts of the left, especially across a broad spectrum of what could be called the economic left, our (by which I mean humanity’s) accelerating trajectory toward the climate cliff is little more popular as a topic than it is on the right. In fact, possibly less so. (Plenty of right-wingers love to talk about climate change, if only to deny its grim and urgent scientific reality. On the left, to say nothing of the center, denial takes different forms.)

Sometimes, though, the prospect of climate catastrophe shows up unexpectedly, awkwardly, as a kind of non sequitur—or the return of the repressed.

I was reminded of this not long ago when I came to a showstopping passage deep in the final chapter of anarchist anthropologist David Graeber’s The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement, his interpretive account of the Occupy Wall Street uprising, in which he played a role not only as a core OWS organizer but as a kind of house intellectual (his magnum opus, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, happened to come out in the summer of 2011). Midway through a brief discourse on the nature of labor, he pauses to reflect, as though it has just occurred to him: “At the moment, probably the most pressing need is simply to slow down the engines of productivity.” Why? Because “if you consider the overall state of the world,” there are “two insoluble problems” we seem to face: “On the one hand, we have witnessed an endless series of global debt crises…to the point where the overall burden of debt…is obviously unsustainable. On the other we have an ecological crisis, a galloping process of climate change that is threatening to throw the entire planet into drought, floods, chaos, starvation, and war.”

These two problems may appear unrelated, Graeber tells us, but “ultimately they are the same.” That’s because debt is nothing if not “the promise of future productivity.” Therefore, “human beings are promising each other to produce an even greater volume of goods and services in the future than they are creating now. But even current levels are clearly unsustainable. They are precisely what’s destroying the planet, at an ever-increasing pace.”

Talk about burying the lead. Graeber’s solution—“a planetary debt cancellation” and a “mass reduction in working hours: a four-hour day, perhaps, or a guaranteed five-month vacation”—may sound far-fetched, but at least he acknowledges the “galloping” climate crisis and what’s at stake in it, and proposes something commensurate (if somewhat detached from the central challenge of leaving fossil fuels in the ground). That’s more than can be said for most others on the left side of the spectrum, where climate change is too often completely absent from economic and political analysis.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
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Is Climate Change The Biggest Long-Term Management Problem Facing Business? – Forbes

http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2014/02/04/is-climate-change-the-biggest-long-term-management-problem-facing-business/

Victor Lipman, Contributor 2/04/2014 @ 3:14PM |2,046 views

Two recent communications from respected global organizations have underscored the long-term impacts of climate change – and the potential vast effects on business.

Communiques from the World Bank and the United Nations both highlighted the complex, long-lasting and extraordinarily costly nature of the problem.

Noting that ”weather-related losses and damage” have quadrupled from $50 billion a year in the 1980s to around $200 billion a year in the last decade, the World Bank commented: “In corporate boardrooms and the offices of CEOs, climate change is a real and present danger. It threatens to disrupt the water supplies and supply chains of companies as diverse as Coca-Cola and ExxonMobil. Rising sea levels and more intense storms put their infrastructure at risk, and the costs will only get worse.”

Photo: Wikipedia

Unpredictable, extreme weather poses risks to vital aspects of business – including natural resources, agriculture, operational infrastructure, supply chains and insurance risk management, among many others. While some companies are responding with climate resilience initiatives, they are in the minority. “CEOs know this (the risks of climate change),” noted World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. “They also know there is opportunity in how they respond. But while there are stand-out leaders, many others are holding back until they have more certainty about what governments will do.”

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
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