Daily Archives: March 1, 2016

Scientists Protest Cuts and Commercialization at Australian Climate Center

By MICHELLE INNISFEB. 27, 2016

Staff cutbacks and a shift in focus threaten climate work done at the Cape Grim research station in Tasmania, Australia. Credit CSIRO

SYDNEY, Australia — Perched on a wild, windy promontory on the rugged tip of northwestern Tasmania, the tiny Cape Grim research station has been measuring airborne greenhouse gases since 1976.

It is one of a handful of such stations in the world, and because the wind that reaches it has traveled more than 6,600 miles across the southern oceans, uncontaminated by cities or factories, the measurements are considered a baseline for tracking changes in the earth’s atmosphere.

Now a decision by Australia’s science agency to lay off 350 researchers and shift the organization’s focus to more commercial enterprise threatens not only the work done at the station but also climate studies around the globe.

Scientists worldwide have protested the shift, saying the loss of the Australian data — from both Cape Grim and the agency’s role in a vital ocean-monitoring program called Argo — could impair their ability to predict severe regional weather and help people prepare for extreme floods, drought, bushfires and cyclones.

“This, for me, is such a big shock,” said Ronald G. Prinn, director of the Center for Global Change Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “To think that you could stop measurements or throw out the people, that doesn’t make any sense to me and to many, many other people around the world.”

About 3,000 scientists from more than 60 countries have signed a petition calling the cuts “devastating” and saying that research stations like Cape Grim are “critical and irreplaceable” to global climate science.

The Australian agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or Csiro, has played down the impact, noting that it is not closing the two programs, but shifting missions. The move, from a focus on the causes of climate change to developing profitable products to cope with its consequences, follows the 2014 appointment as agency director of Larry Marshall, a former technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.

AUSTRALIA

Australia’s climate research has helped “prove global climate change,” Dr. Marshall said in an email to the agency’s staff this month. “That question has been answered and the new question is what do we do about it and how do we find solutions for the climate we will be living with.”

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
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The Urgent Need to Slow Down – Garrison Institute

3.01.2016

A Conversation with Elizabeth Kolbert and Matthieu Ricard

By Sam Mowe

Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert and Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard each had big books in 2015. Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History—winner of the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction—takes an unflinching look at the history of extinction and the different ways that human beings are negatively impacting life on the planet. Ricard’s Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World explores global challenges, such as climate change, and argues that compassion and altruism are the keys to creating a better future. Together these books—filled with grief and hope—feel like two sides of a coin, each necessary for understanding what it means to be alive during humanity’s greatest crisis.

I recently spoke with Kolbert and Ricard to discuss emotional responses to distressing environmental news, the importance of slowing down, and the role of art in environmental solutions.
…(read more).

Global Climate Change
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Ashton Carter, U.S. Secretary of Defense (Clip 3: Climate Change)


Commonwealth Club

Published on Mar 1, 2016

Dr. Ashton B. Carter, 25th U.S. Secretary of Defense

Remarks followed by conversation with Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club

How does the U.S. plan to combat ISIS? How will we know if we are succeeding? What is our future role in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan? How should we be approaching Russia—as a threat or an ally, or both? Why did the U.S. finally just decide to admit women to combat roles in our armed forces? Is North Korea in a new round of nuclear weapons development, and how should the U.S. respond? Is the U.S. defense budget too large or too small? Will we need to spend more or less in the future, and on what kinds of technology? How can “soft power” help to further U.S. security goals? Do we need more nuclear weapons, or fewer, or to improve and update those we have? Where are the future hotspots that could threaten U.S. and global security? How is the Pentagon dealing with climate change? What countries are the closest allies and collaborators for the U.S.?
A physicist and Rhodes Scholar, Defense Secretary Ashton “Ash” Carter has spent more than three decades applying his knowledge of science and technology, global strategy, and policy in leadership roles during both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Secretary Carter served as deputy secretary of defense from 2011 to 2013, essentially the Department of Defense’s chief operating officer. From 2009 to 2011, he was under-secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. From 1993-1996, he served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, where he was responsible for strategic affairs, nuclear weapons policy, and the Nunn-Lugar program that dismantled nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia.

Global Climate Change
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Environment Justice

Ashton Carter, U.S. Secretary of Defense (Clip 4: How to defeat ISIL using technology)


Commonwealth Club

Published on Mar 1, 2016

Dr. Ashton B. Carter, 25th U.S. Secretary of Defense

Remarks followed by conversation with Dr. Gloria Duffy, President and CEO, The Commonwealth Club

How does the U.S. plan to combat ISIS? How will we know if we are succeeding? What is our future role in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan? How should we be approaching Russia—as a threat or an ally, or both? Why did the U.S. finally just decide to admit women to combat roles in our armed forces? Is North Korea in a new round of nuclear weapons development, and how should the U.S. respond? Is the U.S. defense budget too large or too small? Will we need to spend more or less in the future, and on what kinds of technology? How can “soft power” help to further U.S. security goals? Do we need more nuclear weapons, or fewer, or to improve and update those we have? Where are the future hotspots that could threaten U.S. and global security? How is the Pentagon dealing with climate change? What countries are the closest allies and collaborators for the U.S.?

Here’s a rare chance to hear first-hand from the U.S. secretary of defense on these and many other topics—you bring the questions!

A physicist and Rhodes Scholar, Defense Secretary Ashton “Ash” Carter has spent more than three decades applying his knowledge of science and technology, global strategy, and policy in leadership roles during both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Secretary Carter served as deputy secretary of defense from 2011 to 2013, essentially the Department of Defense’s chief operating officer. From 2009 to 2011, he was under-secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. From 1993-1996, he served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, where he was responsible for strategic affairs, nuclear weapons policy, and the Nunn-Lugar program that dismantled nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia.

Prior to his appointment as secretary of defense, Dr. Carter was a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a lecturer at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Previously, at Harvard’s Kennedy School, he was professor and chair of the international and global affairs faculty. Secretary Carter earned his bachelor’s degrees in physics and medieval history at Yale University and his doctorate in theoretical physics at Oxford University.

For his government service, Secretary Carter has been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, DoD’s highest honor, on five separate occasions. Secretary Carter is author or co-author of 11 books and more than 100 articles on physics, technology, national security and management.

Join us for what promises to be a provocative and informative discussion.

Global Climate Change
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Apple vs. FBI battle heats up during a House committee hearing


RT America

Published on Mar 1, 2016

The US House Judiciary committee took a look at the encryption battle growing between the FBI and Apple over the agency’s request for access to the iPhone of a suspected San Bernardino shooter. RT’s Ashlee Banks has more information.

Global Climate Change
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Clinton: There are many Flints out there


PBS NewsHour

Published on Mar 1, 2016

Speaking from the Ice Palace Film Studios in Miami, Fl., presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addressed the water crisis in Flint, Mich. “There’s another story in Flint,” she said, “It’s a story about a community that’s been knocked down but refused to be knocked out,” she said.

“We know there are many other Flints out there, communities that are hurting and need help,” Clinton said. “But we’ve come too far in this country to let us turn back. We’re going to build on the progress that we’ve made.”

Global Climate Change
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Refugees Tear-Gassed After Rushing Fence on Greek-Macedonian Border + France: Refugees Stage Sit-in to Protest Eviction from Calais Camp + Indiana: Judge Blocks Governor’s Order Against Resettling Refugees


Refugees Tear-Gassed After Rushing Fence on Greek-Macedonian Border March 01, 2016
Headlines

Meanwhile, refugees fleeing Iraq, Syria and other countries are facing restrictions at borders as they attempt to reach countries in Europe. On the Greek-Macedonian border, refugees stormed a border fence, pulling away barbed wire as Macedonian police fired tear gas into the crowd. Thousands of refugees, many of them from Iraq and Syria, have been stranded in northern Greece as countries further along their migration route have heavily restricted passage. Abdullah, from the Syrian city of Aleppo, is among those stranded.

Abdullah: “It’s suffering here. I am suffering here. I am dying, slowly dying here. I don’t know what I’ll do.”

France: Refugees Stage Sit-in to Protest Eviction from Calais Camp

March 01, 2016
Headlines

Residents of France’s largest refugee camp have staged a sit-in, refusing to leave after riot police and work crews closed in to demolish their makeshift shelters and evict up to 3,000 people. Riot police fired tear gas on protesting refugees Monday and overnight, and a number of tents were set ablaze. The camp is called the “Jungle” in Calais. French authorities want the refugees moved to shipping containers at the site—where aid groups say there is not enough space—or dispersed to centers across France.

Indiana: Judge Blocks Governor’s Order Against Resettling Refugees

March 01, 2016
Headlines

In Indiana, a federal judge has blocked Republican Governor Mike Pence’s order blocking state agencies from helping Syrian refugees to resettle in the state. Aid groups in Indiana have continued their efforts to resettle refugees, despite Indiana’s attempt to withhold funding earmarked for the purpose. More than two dozen states have taken action to block refugee resettlement programs. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled Monday Indiana’s order “clearly discriminates” against refugees.

Global Climate Change
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