Daily Archives: April 28, 2015

Vatican presses politicians on climate change – BBC News

By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst

The Vatican Science Academy has challenged politicians to end their “infatuation” with a form of economic growth that is ruining the Earth.

The academy said that nations were measuring their wealth by GDP (Gross Domestic Product), taking no account of the harm caused by business practises.

It urged countries to act as stewards of God’s creation.

The statements are likely to influence the Pope’s coming Encyclical on climate change.

An Cambridge Economics professor, Partha Dasgupta, told the academy’s climate conference in St Peter’s Basilica: “GDP is a disgraceful index because it does not count depreciation of our assets – including damage to Mother Nature, the most fundamental asset we have.”

Cardinal Peter Turkson, who helped write the coming Encyclical – an official statement – said: “For humans to degrade the integrity of the Earth by constant changes in its climate; by stripping its natural forests; to contaminate Earth’s water, land and air with poisonous substances – all of these are sins.

“There is an all-embracing imperative to protect our garden, our hope. We must move away from our unthinking infatuation with GDP.”

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Introduction to the Life and Works of Lester Brown

2011

11 February 2011, Harvard Lecture (HUCE):

2012

Brown-Green-500

2015

Lecture in the Harvard Extension School course:
“Global Climate Change: The Science, Social Impact and
Diplomacy
of a World Environmental Crisis,”
introducing
the life and works of Lester Brown.

Lester-Cit-Sci

 

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Fast Track Flouts the Constitution


The Big Picture RT

Published on Apr 28, 2015

Trade Promotion Authority and the TPP/SHAFTA aren’t just bad for our economy, our environment and our sovereignty. If our leaders allow these trade deals to be fast-tracked, they’ll be critically undermining Congress’ function – according to the Constitution.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

New Study Links Weather Extremes to Global Warming

Heat and drought affected Wisconsin crops in 2012. Scientists now say global warming is making weather extremes likelier. Credit Darren Hauck/Reuters

By JUSTIN GILLISAPRIL 27, 2015

The moderate global warming that has already occurred as a result of human emissions has quadrupled the frequency of certain heat extremes since the Industrial Revolution, scientists reported Monday, and they warned that a failure to bring greenhouse gases under control could eventually lead to a 62-fold increase in such heat blasts.

The planetary warming has had a more moderate effect on intense rainstorms, the scientists said, driving up their frequency by 22 percent since the 19th century. Yet such heavy rains could more than double later this century if emissions continue at a high level, they said.

“People can argue that we had these kinds of extremes well before human influence on the climate — we had them centuries ago,” said Erich M. Fischer, lead author of a study published Monday by the journal Nature Climate Change. “And that’s correct. But the odds have changed, and we get more of them.”

Continue reading the main story

The study by Dr. Fischer and his colleague Reto Knutti, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is not the first to attribute large-scale changes in extreme weather to human influence on the climate. But it is among the first to forecast, on a global scale, how those extremes might change with continued global warming.

Related Coverage

See:

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

New study finds strong link between weather extremes, global warming – Nation – The Boston Globe

By Justin Gillis New York Times April 28, 2015

NEW YORK — The moderate global warming that has already occurred as a result of human emissions is responsible for about 75 percent of daily heat extremes and about 18 percent of precipitation extremes, scientists reported Monday.

Especially hot days of a sort that occurred only once every 30 years or so before the Industrial Revolution are now occurring every six or seven years, the scientists found.

Such scorching days could become near-annual events by late this century even if emissions are brought under control, the researchers said, and they could occur several times a year if they are not.

The new research builds on those predictions of frequency and attempts to answer the question: To what degree are the changes attributable to human-caused climate change?

“People can argue that we had these kinds of extremes well before human influence on the climate — we had them centuries ago,” said Erich M. Fischer, lead author of a study published Monday by the journal Nature Climate Change. “And that’s correct. But the odds have changed, and we get more of them.”

…(read more).

See original:

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

How Growers Gamed California’s Drought – The Daily Beast

Mark Hertsgaard

Consuming 80 percent of California’s developed water but accounting for only 2 percent of the state’s GDP, agriculture thrives while everyone else is parched.

“I’ve been smiling all the way to the bank,” said pistachio farmer John Dean at a conference hosted this month by Paramount Farms, the mega-operation owned by Stewart Resnick, a Beverly Hills billionaire known for his sprawling agricultural holdings, controversial water dealings, and millions of dollars in campaign contributions to high-powered California politicians including Governor Jerry Brown, former governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis, and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

The record drought now entering its fourth year in California has alarmed the public, left a number of rural communities without drinking water, and triggered calls for mandatory rationing. There’s no relief in sight: The winter rainy season, which was a bust again this year, officially ends on April 15. Nevertheless, some large-scale farmers are enjoying extraordinary profits despite the drought, thanks in part to infusions of what experts call dangerously under-priced water.

Resnick, whose legendary marketing flair included hiring Stephen Colbert to star in a 2014 Super Bowl commercial, told the conference that pistachios generated an average net return of $3,519 per acre in 2014, based on a record wholesale price of $3.53 a pound. Almonds, an even “thirstier” crop, averaged $1,431 per acre. Andy Anzaldo, a vice president for Resnick’s company, Wonderful Pistachios, celebrated by showing the assembled growers a clip from the movie Jerry Maguire in which Tom Cruise shouts, “Show me the money,” reported the Western Farm Press, a trade publication. At the end of the day, conference attendees filed out to the sounds of Louis Armstrong singing, “It’s a Wonderful World.”

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Hey Mr. President…Transparency Applies To The TPP Too!


The Big Picture RT

Published on Apr 24, 2015

Earlier today – President Obama announced the deaths of two hostages – who were killed in January during a US counterterrorism operation against Al Qaeda in Pakistan. Shouldn’t there be that kind of transparency in all parts of our democracy?

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice