Paul E. Parham, Joanna Waldock, George K. Christophides, Deborah Hemming, Folashade Agusto, Katherine J. Evans, Nina Fefferman, Holly Gaff, Abba Gumel, Shannon LaDeau, Suzanne Lenhart, Ronald E. Mickens, Elena N. Naumova, Richard S. Ostfeld, Paul D. Ready, Matthew B. Thomas, Jorge Velasco-Hernandez, Edwin Michael
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B: 2015 370 20130551; DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0551. Published 16 February 2015
Lindsay P. Campbell, Caylor Luther, David Moo-Llanes, Janine M. Ramsey, Rogelio Danis-Lozano, A. Townsend Peterson
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B: 2015 370 20140135; DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0135. Published 16 February 2015
Robert A. Cheke, Maria-Gloria Basáñez, Malorie Perry, Michael T. White, Rolf Garms, Emmanuel Obuobie, Poppy H. L. Lamberton, Stephen Young, Mike Y. Osei-Atweneboana, Joseph Intsiful, Mingwang Shen, Daniel A. Boakye, Michael D. Wilson
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B: 2015 370 20130559; DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0559. Published 16 February 2015
Alexis Baden Mayer, Organic Consumers Association joins Thom Hartmann. A British company plans to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. Why is the company doing this – and could genetically modified mosquitoes be an even bigger nuisance than regular ones?
Tuesday 17 February 2015 10.00 EST Last modified on Tuesday 17 February 2015 19.06 EST
Rising global demand for energy over the next two decades is at odds with the fight against climate change, the head of BP said on Tuesday, as he outlined the oil giant’s forecasts showing unsustainable increases in carbon emissions.
BP’s annual energy outlook predicted that the world economy would double in size in the next 20 years, resulting in demand for energy rising by almost 40%. The company said two-thirds of this demand would be met from fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – and that this would lead to a 25% increase in carbon emissions.
BP said slower growth in China and India coupled with greater energy efficiency would mean that demand would rise by 1.5% a year over the next two decades, rather than the 2.5% a year recorded during the past decade.
Even so, the company said carbon emissions would be growing by 1% a year – “well above” the path recommended by scientists to keep emissions below the ceiling of 450 parts per million that would provide a 50% chance of stabilising global temperatures at 2% above pre-industrial levels.
The most likely path for carbon emissions, despite current government policies, does not appear sustainable.
BP chief executive Bob Dudley
Dudl added that the environmental risks put pressure on politicians to come up with a deal at this year’s climate conference in Paris. “The projections highlight the scale of the challenge facing policy makers at this year’s UN-led discussions in Paris. No single change or policy is likely to be sufficient on its own.
“And identifying in advance which changes are likely to be most effective is fraught with difficulty. This underpins the importance of policymakers taking steps that lead to a global price for carbon, which provides the right incentives for everyone to play their part.”
I write to you from snowy Harvard, having just returned from a week in London, Cambridge, Zurich, and Davos—a trip that combined delivering the Rede Lecture at Cambridge University and meeting with alumni from five continents at the annual World Economic Forum. As this reaches you, I will be about to depart for China, where I will be visiting with some of the more than 1,700 alumni living and working there, meeting with University leaders from the country’s burgeoning higher education sector, and delivering an address on the role that research universities can play in combating climate change.
Harvard is one of the few places in the world capable of bringing together talented individuals to develop solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Consider climate change. Any concern for the future of the planet must be based, in part, on an understanding of the outsized role the built environment plays in consuming—and wasting—energy. The Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities, launched just last year, convenes scholars and practitioners of design; of business, engineering, law, public health, and public policy; of the arts and the sciences to lead change in how people think about the buildings they inhabit and the buildings they construct—knowledge that can be used in Cambridge or Mexico City or Mumbai.
Big Oil would like you to know: Bill McKibben is evil and your punk friends want you to break up with your coal-fired girlfriend.
With the fossil fuel divestment movement gaining momentum and Global Divestment Day(s) coming up this Friday and Saturday, dirty energy’s devoted spin doctors are throwing desperation punches. This misinformational video, from the conservative Environmental Policy Alliance, wants you to believe that breaking up with the fossil fuel industry this Valentine’s Day will leave you in a cold, dark cave with no clothes or gadgets.
The video does make a good point: Basically everything we do and have relies on fossil fuels. All the more reason to show we don’t support dirty energy companies — because, you know, climate change — by divesting!
The point of the divestment movement is obviously not to quit using fossil fuels cold turkey, as the video suggests. As Naomi Klein explained in a recent interview, it’s about making it clear that the oil and natural gas industry is “a rogue sector, that their business plan is at odds with life on earth.” In short, these companies plan to sell enough fuel to emit five times more carbon than the atmosphere can handle without warming more than 2 degrees C.
This bizarre short isn’t the only frantic move in the fossil fuel industry’s last-ditch offensive against divestment. Just this week, the American Energy Alliance released a report called, “Coal: Bedrock of modern life,” and another study, commissioned by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, suggests that U.S. universities could lose money by divesting, based on the really stupid assumption that the future of the stock market will look like the past 50 years.
The military–industrial complex, or military–industrial–congressional complex, comprises the policy and monetary relationships which exist between legislators, national armed forces, and the arms industry that supports them. These relationships include political contributions, political approval for military spending, lobbying to support bureaucracies, and oversight of the industry. It is a type of iron triangle. The term is most often used in reference to the system behind the military of the United States, where it gained popularity after its use in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 17, 1961, though the term is applicable to any country with a similarly developed infrastructure.
The term is sometimes used more broadly to include the entire network of contracts and flows of money and resources among individuals as well as corporations and institutions of the defense contractors, The Pentagon, the Congress and executive branch. A parallel system is that of the military–industrial–media complex, along with the more distant politico-media complex and prison–industrial complex.
A similar thesis was originally expressed by Daniel Guérin, in his 1936 book Fascism and Big Business, about the fascist government support to heavy industry. It can be defined as, “an informal and changing coalition of groups with vested psychological, moral, and material interests in the continuous development and maintenance of high levels of weaponry, in preservation of colonial markets and in military-strategic conceptions of internal affairs.” An exhibit of the trend was made in Franz Leopold Neumann’s book Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism in 1942, a study of how Nazism came into a position of power in a democratic state.
Over the past six months I’ve been trying to figure out how we can feed ourselves sustainably and equitably without wrecking the planet. I’ve been reading, interviewing experts, and blogging as I learn. This, the final post of the series, is a synthesis of what I’ve found out.
If the world goes on with business as usual, there’s not going to be enough food to feed everyone by 2050. A lot of things would have to change.
And a lot of things should change! Currently, the daily effort to satisfy the collective appetite of humanity is causing deforestation, erosion, extinction, and massive release of greenhouse gases. In changing how it feeds itself, humankind can drive down poverty, sequester greenhouse gas, conserve wild environments, and put organic matter back into the soil. All of that is plausibly within reach.
Let’s start with population. If we can’t get a handle on our swelling numbers, everything else is moot. So what would make human population level off, or even fall? There are always political measures — like China’s one-child policy — but laws like that are hard to pass and even harder to enforce. They restrict freedom while producing terrible unintended consequences — like families getting rid of girls.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
Calendar – Click on Date for links entered on that Day