The Justice Department has asked the FBI to evaluate whether oil giant ExxonMobil broke federal laws by lying to investors and the public about climate change. The move comes in response to a request from California Congressmembers Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier. They are seeking a federal investigation of Exxon following exposés by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times revealing Exxon knew that fossil fuels cause global warming as early as the 1970s but hid that information from the public and instead poured millions into climate denial. California Attorney General Kamala Harris and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have also launched investigations into Exxon.
March 04, 2016 Headlines
With Warming Temps, Train Must Haul Snow to Anchorage for Iditarod
The increasing scrutiny of ExxonMobil comes as record-high temperatures in Alaska have forced organizers of the Iditarod to transport a train-full of snow to Anchorage because there is not enough snow for the famous dog sled race. Organizers also say the teams will cover only three miles on Saturday’s ceremonial start—rather than the usual 11 miles—because of the lack of snow on which to sled. This is the second year that the lack of snow has forced organizers to make changes to the race.
One of the most important consequences of climate change could be its effects on agriculture. Although much research has focused on questions of food security, less has been devoted to assessing the wider health impacts of future changes in agricultural production. In this modelling study, we estimate excess mortality attributable to agriculturally mediated changes in dietary and weight-related risk factors by cause of death for 155 world regions in the year 2050.
For this modelling study, we linked a detailed agricultural modelling framework, the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT), to a comparative risk assessment of changes in fruit and vegetable consumption, red meat consumption, and bodyweight for deaths from coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, and an aggregate of other causes. We calculated the change in the number of deaths attributable to climate-related changes in weight and diets for the combination of four emissions pathways (a high emissions pathway, two medium emissions pathways, and a low emissions pathway) and three socioeconomic pathways (sustainable development, middle of the road, and more fragmented development), which each included six scenarios with variable climatic inputs.
The model projects that by 2050, climate change will lead to per-person reductions of 3·2% (SD 0·4%) in global food availability, 4·0% (0·7%) in fruit and vegetable consumption, and 0·7% (0·1%) in red meat consumption. These changes will be associated with 529 000 climate-related deaths worldwide (95% CI 314 000–736 000), representing a 28% (95% CI 26–33) reduction in the number of deaths that would be avoided because of changes in dietary and weight-related risk factors between 2010 and 2050. Twice as many climate-related deaths were associated with reductions in fruit and vegetable consumption than with climate-related increases in the prevalence of underweight, and most climate-related deaths were projected to occur in south and east Asia. Adoption of climate-stabilisation pathways would reduce the number of climate-related deaths by 29–71%, depending on their stringency.
http://democracynow.org – Honduran indigenous and environmental organizer Berta Cáceres has been assassinated in her home in Honduras. She was one of the leading organizers for indigenous land rights in Honduras. In 1993, she co-founded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, or COPINH. For years, the group faced death threats and repression as they stood up to mining and dam projects that threatened to destroy their community. Last year, Cáceres won the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s leading environmental award. We hear Cáceres in her own words and speak to her nephew, Silvio Carrillo, and her longtime friend Beverly Bell.
Norway’s oil fund must be making company boards feel just a little bit
more nervous. From next year the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund
is planning to publish how it will vote at annual meetings. It says
the move will increase transparency and strengthen the vote execution
chain. Excessive fat cat pay packets are already in its sights. It
comes as Norway reports July CPI at +0.6 percent – much better than
economists predicted. So what do we know about the Oil Fund?
Here are five facts: 1) Officially called the Government Pension Fund Global,
it’s worth around a staggering USD 870 billion and is expected to be
worth more than USD 1.1 trillion by 2020. 2) The Fund was officially
set up in 1990 and is managed by Norges Bank Investment Management
part of Norway’s Central Bank. 3) It invests in 8,000 companies across
82 countries – 60 percent in equities, 35 percent in fixed income and
5 percent in real estate. 4) Its largest equity investments are in:
Nestle, Royal Dutch Shell, Novartis, HSBC Holdings and Vodafone. 5)
The Oil fund has strong ethical guidelines and won’t invest in
numerous companies including British American Tobacco, Wal-Mart for
alleged human rights violations and Rio Tinto due to fears of
Oxfam presents Women Stand Up: A ribtickling, roofraising, povertyending night of comedy in celebration of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2016. Buy tickets here: https://leicestersquaretheatre.ticket…
‘Comic of the decade’ and Beyonce’s bff Luisa Omielan stars alongside ‘enjoyably provocative’ Tiff Stevenson and ‘seductive’ Shazia Mirza in front of a VIP-packed audience. Also: Lou Sanders, Mae Martin, Zoe Lyons, Abi Roberts, Pippa Evans, London Hughes, goodie bags, glitter and pant-wetting surprises. Men welcome.
The Koch family (/ˈkoʊk/ KOKE) is an American family of industrialists, philanthropists and businesspeople, most noted for their political activities and control of Koch Industries, the second-largest privately owned company in the United States (with 2013 revenues of $115 billion). The family business was started by Fred C. Koch, who developed a new cracking method for the refinement of heavy crude oil into gasoline. Fred’s four sons litigated against each other over their interests in the business during the 1980s and 1990s.
Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch, today commonly referred to as the Koch brothers — and the only two of Fred Koch’s four sons still with Koch Industries — are also affiliated with the Koch family foundations.
The Koch brothers have indicated that they intend to raise almost $900 million in support of candidates in the 2016 elections, and have given more than $100 million to conservative and libertarian policy and advocacy groups in the United States, including the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, and more recently “Americans for Prosperity.”
“Americans for Prosperity”, founded by David Koch, has been reported by Kenneth Vogel of Politico to be one of the main nonprofit groups assisting the Tea Party movement; but in 2010, Koch spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia distanced the Kochs from the tea parties and FreedomWorks saying that “no funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the tea parties.” According to the Koch Family Foundations and Philanthropy website, “the foundations and the individual giving of Koch family members” have financially supported organizations “fostering entrepreneurship, education, human services, at-risk youth, arts and culture, and medical research.”
Former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, has pointed out that, although their critics are usually unaware of the fact, the Koch brothers have supported more than just what are generally considered conservative causes. They opposed George W. Bush on many issues, are pro-choice, support same sex marriage, and had worked closely with the Obama White House for the Obama administration’s criminal justice reform initiatives that aligned with their own.
According to the environmentalist group Greenpeace, the Koch brothers have played an active role in opposing climate change legislation. Organizations that the Koch brothers help fund, such as Americans for Prosperity, The Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the Manhattan Institute, have been active in questioning global warming. According to salon.com, through Americans for Prosperity the Koch brothers influenced more than 400 members of Congress to sign a pledge to vote against climate change legislation that does not include offsetting tax cuts.
While the Koch family has been making substantial donations to criminal justice reform organizations for nearly a decade, most recently the Kochs headed a bipartisan resolution to make more serious leaps to reform. Included in these are aims at eliminating overcriminalization and overincarceration, which generally harms low-income and minority communities, as well as reducing recidivism rates, diminishing barriers faced by the rehabilitated seeking employment, and law enforcement’s asset forfeiture to deprive the incarcerated of property.
Plants seldom figure in the grand narratives of war, peace, or even everyday life yet they are often at the center of high intrigue. In the eighteenth century, epic scientific voyages were sponsored by European imperial powers to explore the natural riches of the New World, and uncover the botanical secrets of its people. Bioprospectors brought back medicines, luxuries, and staples for their king and country. Risking their lives to discover exotic plants, these daredevil explorers joined with their sponsors to create a global culture of botany.
But some secrets were unearthed only to be lost again. In this moving account of the abuses of indigenous Caribbean people and African slaves, Schiebinger describes how slave women brewed the “peacock flower” into an abortifacient, to ensure that they would bear no children into oppression. Yet, impeded by trade winds of prevailing opinion, knowledge of West Indian abortifacients never flowed into Europe. A rich history of discovery and loss, Plants and Empire explores the movement, triumph, and extinction of knowledge in the course of encounters between Europeans and the Caribbean populations.
‘Nature’s Government’ is a daring attempt to juxtapose the histories of Britain, western science, and imperialism. It shows how colonial expansion, from the age of Alexander the Great to the twentieth century, led to complex kinds of knowledge. Science, and botany in particular, was fed by information culled from the exploration of the globe. At the same time science was useful to imperialism: it guided the exploitation of exotic environments and made conquest seem necessary, legitimate, and beneficial. Drayton traces the history of this idea of ‘improvement’ from its Christian agrarian origins in the sixteenth century to its inclusion in theories of enlightened despotism. It was as providers of legitimacy, as much as of universal knowledge, aesthetic perfection, and agricultural plenty, he argues, that botanic gardens became instruments of government, first in Continental Europe, and by the late eighteenth century, in Britain and the British Empire.
At the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the rise of which throughout the nineteenth century is a central theme of this book, a pioneering scientific institution was added to a spectacular ornamental garden. At Kew, ‘improving’ the world became a potent argument for both the patronage of science at home and Britain’s prerogatives abroad. ‘Nature’s Government’ provides a portrait of how the ambitions of the Enlightenment shaped the great age of British power, and how empire changed the British experience and the modern world. Richard Drayton was born in the Caribbean and educated at Harvard, Oxford, and Yale. A former Fellow of St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and Lincoln College, Oxford, he has also been Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia.
Watch the live webcast here on Friday, March 4, 2016 12:30-1:30pm ET
THE ZIKA CRISIS: Latest Findings Presented in Collaboration with Reuters
The ongoing spread of the Zika virus — and its unconfirmed potential links to a birth defect called microcephaly — have raised worldwide alarms. This Forum will examine what we know and don’t know about the virus, drawing parallels and lessons from another disease outbreak, Ebola, that we can apply to the Zika emergency. An expert panel will discuss the current status of our understanding of the Zika virus and its health effects; containment strategies, including controlling the mosquitoes that primarily spread the virus; and feasibility of a vaccine and treatment options.
Spread the word:
Send our panelists questions in advance to theforum
A live chat on The Forum’s Zika Crisis web page.
Tweet us @ForumHSPH #zika
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.
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