Daily Archives: December 3, 2015

Paris (and the World) Is Burning

By Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan

PARIS—The candles still burn across this city at the massacre memorials to the more than 130 people killed by armed militants identified with the Islamic State (which, many Muslims point out, is neither Islamic nor a state), from the Bataclan theater to the restaurants attacked nearby and the national stadium. Flowers, messages, French flags, photos and mementos of the dead, reproductions of the now-iconic peace sign with the embedded Eiffel Tower—all are arranged in a heartfelt outpouring of grief where these acts of violence occurred.

It is in this context that one of the most significant global summits in history is happening: COP 21, the 21st “Conference of Parties” to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Here, almost every nation on the planet is represented as negotiators attempt to forge a treaty by Dec. 11 to stave off irreversible, catastrophic climate change.

COP 21 is supposed to be a culmination of more than two decades of work at the U.N. to transform society, ending the fossil-fuel era and shifting to renewable energy and drastically reduced greenhouse-gas emissions. A mass march was organized in Paris for Nov. 29, the day before the climate summit was to begin, with more than 400,000 people expected. But French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency after the attacks, banning all demonstrations. Many critics say that the warming planet is another state of emergency–and that dissent is the only thing that will save us.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Climate Change and Inequality Are Driving War and Catastrophic Conflicts from Syria to Africa

As Democracy Now! broadcasts from the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris, France, we examine the connection between a warming planet and increasing conflicts around the globe. “If we want to deal with the issues of conflict, go to the root cause: inequality and climate change,” says Asad Rehman, former national organizer of the Stop the War Coalition in the UK, who now serves as Head of International Climate for Friends of the Earth. He notes that from 2006 to 2011, Syria suffered from five years of the worst drought ever in the country’s history. Nearly two million people moved from rural to urban areas, and 80 percent of livestock died. Asad compares this to the Arab Spring, which was driven in part by an agricultural collapse that prompted food prices to triple and generated mass social unrest.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Bill McKibben | The Biggest Climate Challenge: Leaving Carbon in the Ground – Scientific American


Science shows that safeguarding the climate will require us to leave most fossil fuels in the ground. Can we restrain ourselves?

We have a couple of advantages when it comes to dealing with climate change. For one thing, the parameters of the problem are remarkably clear: We can see the Arctic melting, the ocean acidifying, the mercury steadily rising. Droughts and floods reinforce daily our understanding of our predicament.

More, researchers have made it relatively simple to understand what we can and can’t do going forward. If the planet is to hold its temperature increase to two degrees Celsius—and almost every nation agreed to that target in 2009 at the international talks in Copenhagen—then we simply have to leave most of the carbon we know about underground; it can’t be burned. In fact, a powerful article in Nature last January listed all the carbon deposits that would need to go untouched: places like the tar sands of Canada or the oil and gas reservoirs beneath the Arctic. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)

So: easy—or not. Pres. Barack Obama, for instance, traveled to Alaska in early September to draw attention to climate change. He visited native villages, checked out melting glaciers, said all the right things. But the week before he’d given final permission to Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic—exactly the sort of thing that scientists say will make global warming worse.

In so doing Obama exemplified our dilemma. He simply couldn’t bring himself to stand up to the forces that want to dig up every last lump of coal, drill every last drop of oil.

For politicians, this lack of restraint has a simple source: the power of the fossil fuel industry. It is the richest industry on the planet, and it’s historically gotten absolutely everything it wanted. That Obama rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline is a singular display of courage; it was literally the first time a world leader said, “Here’s a project we can’t build because of its effect on the climate.” But usually Big Oil is just too—Big.

Two things might change the equation.

One is the emergence of a real climate movement. It’s getting big, too: Last fall 400,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of New York City, which was the largest demonstration about anything in the U.S. in a very long time. Increasingly this global effort is persuading banks to stop financing the next round of extraction. In midsummer, for instance, the company planning to build the world’s largest coal mine in the Australian desert pulled the plug, their credit lines severed by persistent activism.

But there’s another factor, too. In the past six years the price of solar panels has fallen by 75 percent. That makes renewable energy the cheapest alternative in much of the world. If we committed ourselves, Stanford University professor of environmental engineering Mark Jacobson and his team have shown, every state in the union (and every country on the planet) could supply their needs with clean, reliable electricity by 2030 at an affordable price.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Do or Die: The Global Climate Summit in Paris – Scientific American

World leaders at the U.N. climate conference are trying for the 21st time to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s how they can finally reach meaningful agreements

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

China Carbon Forum | 中国碳论坛

China Carbon Forum’s Vision

Greater trust and more effective cooperation among China’s stakeholders to achieve a low carbon and climate resilient society.

China Carbon Forum’s Mission

To provide an independent, neutral, and not-for-profit platform of services to foster relationships, build understanding, and share information among China’s stakeholders involved in climate change action including local and international organizations, government, industry, academics, consultants, policymakers and others.

To accomplish its vision and mission China Carbon Forum engages in the following activities:

Events: Using CCF’s neutral discussion platform, CCF implements high-level events on climate change topics important to China and the world. The events are delivered under non- attribution reporting rules to allow speakers to freely exchange ideas and information. The format of the events varies. The events also provide opportunity to build meaningful network links to enhance cooperation. VALUE PROPOSITION: Networking and information sharing.

Research: Undertake specific survey and other research by tapping CCF’s professional network to aggregate opinions. Reporting and analysis shared with Chinese government and other stakeholders.
VALUE PROPOSITION: Knowledge production.

Workshops and Training: Use experts and local organisations to prepare and convene focused training and up-skilling workshops at central, municipal and provincial levels. VALUE PROPOSITION: Skill building.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, and Francis Fox Pivens FULL

ömer bozdogan

Published on Jan 18, 2014

Left Forum, 2010 – The Center Cannot Hold: Rekindling the Radical Imagination, Pace University

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Record Number of Leaders Attend COP21 Paris Climate Summit


Published on Dec 1, 2015

More than 150 Heads of State and Government were present at COP21 on 30 November 2015. The Leaders Event was organized at the invitation of the President of France, François Hollande and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France and President of the COP 21/CMP 11, Laurent Fabius.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Yale Environment 360: Paris COP21: China’s About-Face Fuels High Hopes for Paris Talks

Getty Images
A worker installs silicon solar panels last month in China’s Shandong Province.

By Fred Pearce 02 Dec 2015
China changed everything. After years of sulking about climate change, China is right now diplomatically and technologically transforming the chances of halting climate change. U.S. President Barack Obama might wish for a deal here in Paris to be his own crowning legacy. But the truth is that this is China’s ball.

Nobody knows the transformation better than the head of the Chinese climate delegation for the past nine years, Xie Zhenhua. He spent years pretending climate change was a rich-world problem that the rich world had to sort out. In Copenhagen in 2009, he was widely blamed for scuppering the talks. But here in Paris he is quietly confident a deal is about to be done that will be in China’s and the world’s interests.

Speaking yesterday at a small event in the Chinese pavilion, he said: “China is entering a new normal of energy and resource conservation.” He no longer insists that China has a right to develop along the dirty path chosen by rich nations. “We can seek a different way,” he said, through “ecologically driven wealth generation.”

And not just China. He predicted “a low-carbon pathway for the whole of mankind,” one in which Chinese know-how is on offer to the world – whether the ever-cheaper solar panels now on sale in marketplaces across Africa, or in “south-south” aid projects to fight desertification.

“There has been an incredible change in China’s approach in the past decade,” said Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, a U.K.-based non-profit that recently launched a report on China’s low-carbon revolution. The world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases is now also the world’s biggest investor in renewables. The recently announced new Five-Year Plan says China will have 300 gigawatts of wind and solar energy capacity by 2020, almost as much as Japan and Germany combined promise a decade later, in 2030.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Yale Environment 360: Complete Coverage of the Paris COP21 Climate Talks

Etc., etc., etc.

03 Dec 2015: Paris COP21 — Is India the Main
Stumbling Block at Climate Talks?

03 Dec 2015: Paris COP21 — Regular Reviews
Of Carbon Cuts Likely to Be Adopted

02 Dec 2015: Paris COP21 — China’s About-Face
Fuels High Hopes for Paris Talks

01 Dec 2015: Paris COP21 — To Save Forests,
A Combination of Carrots and Sticks

01 Dec 2015: Paris COP21 — Business Leaders
Announce ‘Breakthrough Energy Coalition’

30 Nov 2015: Paris COP21 — For the Poorest
Nations, Questions of Compensation

30 Nov 2015: Paris COP21 — Obama, Xi Vow
To Lead In Climate Fight as Paris Talks Open

30 Nov 2015: Will Paris Conference
Finally Achieve Real Action on Climate

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Portal to Paris COP 21 …(and Après Paris – Transition Studies)

Portal to Paris COP 21


(and Après Paris, Transition Studies)

Some useful resources for monitoring the meaning and implications of the COP21 meetings in Paris, France, November-December 2015

PDF of final text of COP21 Paris Agreement – 12 December 2015

PDF of earlier Draft Version – 10 December 2015

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DN: 30 November Headlines: Day 1
Global Protests Demand Climate Action Ahead of Paris Summit – DN – Day 1

DN: 1 December Headlines: Day 2
France: Protest Remains Banned; Police Conduct More than 2,000 Raids – 1 December 2015 – DN – Day 2

DN: 2 December 2015 Headlines: Day 3
France: Ban on Protests Extended in Central Paris & around COP21 & Republican-Controlled House Blocks Rules to Regulate Emissions

DN: 3 December 2015: Headlines: Day 4
India: Flooding Kills 269 People, Cuts off Services for 3 Million & One Person Displaced By Climate-Related Weather Every Second – December 03, 2015

DN: 4 December 2015: Six Stories: Day 5
Democracy Now – COP21 – Day 5 – Six Stories

DN: 7 December 2015:  Stories: Day 6
Democracy Now – COP21 – Day 6 – Headline + Stories

DN: 8 December 2015:  Stories: Day 7
Democracy Now – COP21 – Day 7 – Headline + Stories

DN: 9 December 2015: Stories: Day 8
Democracy Now – COP21 – Day 8 – Headline + Stories

DN: 10 December 2015: Stories: Day 9
Democracy Now – COP21 – Day 9 – Stories

DN: 11 December 2015: Stories: Day 10
Democracy Now – COP21 – Day 10 – Stories

DN: 14 December 2015: Stories: “Day 11” from NYC studios
Democracy Now – COP21 – Day 11 – Stories

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… and Après Paris

Climate Change: Health and Disease Threats – Live webcast, Wednesday, December 16, 2015, 12:30-1:30pm ET


Spring Semester – 2016, Online course
Harvard Extension School:
“After Paris, 2015”

Transition Studies – COP21 Coverage

Transition Studies – continuing news, interviews, conversations, documents and documentaries on the transition to global sustainability…