Monthly Archives: March 2016

If I’m wrong I’ll kiss you – Michael Ranney’s Golden Nugget


UQx Denial101x Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

Published on Apr 12, 2015

Climate change is real, so why the controversy and debate? Learn to make sense of the science and to respond to climate change denial in Denial101x, a MOOC from UQx and edX.

Denial101x isn’t just a climate MOOC; it’s a MOOC about how people think about climate change.

Comments on our channel are turned off. To discuss our videos, enrol at http://edx.org/understanding-climate-… and join us in the edX discussion forum.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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Chinese president Xi Jinping arrives in Washington for summi


CCTV Africa

Published on Mar 31, 2016

Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Washington DC for the fourth Nuclear Security Summit. He’ll give a keynote speech at the plenary session, explaining China’s stance and proposals on nuclear security issues. He’ll also present China’s new measures and achievements in the area, and put forth a set of practical proposals on further beefing up global nuclear security.

Global Climate Change
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Nuclear

2016 Global Food Policy Report Launch • Maximo Torero


IFPRI

Published on Mar 31, 2016

Remarks by Maximo Torero (IFPRI).

2016 Global Food Policy Report Launch Event, held on March 31st, in Washington DC.

Click here to read the full report: https://www.ifpri.org/publication/201…

Food-Matters
Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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Paul Krugman: The Fate of the World Is at Stake in This Election | Alternet

Krugman

Photo Credit: via YouTube/Moyers & Co.

By Janet Allon / AlterNet
February 1, 2016

Paul Krugman writes in Monday’s column that no less than the fate of the planet rides on the results of this year’s election. And, while that is a pretty scary way to start a column, the rest of Krugman’s argument, which is devoted to climate economics and how they are improving, is fairly optimistic.

It is well known that last year was by far the hottest on record, although that fact has not put a dent in climate deniers helmets of denial. What is less known, according to Krugman, is that the “prospect of effective action against the looming catastrophe” has changed “drastically for the better in recent years, because we’re now achingly close to achieving a renewable-energy revolution.”

Krugman is also heartened by the fact that it won’t take a political revolution to achieve an energy revolution. (Might this be a subtle dig at Bernie Sanders supporters with whom Krugman as tangled recently? Maybe.) At any rate, Krugman lays out the current state of climate economics as he sees it:

Most people who think about the issue at all probably imagine that achieving a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would necessarily involve big economic sacrifices. This view is required orthodoxy on the right, where it forms a sort of second line of defense against action, just in case denial of climate science and witch hunts against climate scientists don’t do the trick. For example, in the last Republican debateMarco Rubio — the last, best hope of the G.O.P. establishment — insisted, as he has before, that a cap-and-trade program would be “devastating for our economy.”

To find anything equivalent on the left you have to go far out of the mainstream, to activists who insist that climate change can’t be fought without overthrowing capitalism. Still, my sense is that many Democrats believe that politics as usual isn’t up to the task, that we need a political earthquake to make real action possible. In particular, I keep hearing that the Obama administration’s environmental efforts have been so far short of what’s needed as to be barely worth mentioning.

(read more).

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Harvard to Install Plaque Acknowledging Legacy of Slavery on Campus

Harvard-slav

March 31, 2016 Headlines

And the president of Harvard University, Drew Faust, has announced she will install a plaque to commemorate four enslaved people who lived and worked at Wadsworth House, the one-time home of Harvard presidents. In an article for The Harvard Crimson, Faust wrote, “Slavery is an aspect of Harvard’s past that has rarely been acknowledged or invoked. … But Harvard was directly complicit in America’s system of racial bondage from the College’s earliest days.”

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Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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FBI, DOJ Launch Probe of Unaoil, After Exposé Shows Global Corruption

Unoil.jpg

March 31, 2016Headlines

The FBI, the Department of Justice and British and Australian authorities have launched a joint investigation into the Moroccan company Unaoil, which brokers contracts between governments and international oil service giants. This comes after The Huffington Post and Australia’s Fairfax Media published a multi-part exposé based on thousands of leaked documents showing how Unaoil paid million-dollar bribes to government officials in Iraq, Libya, Kazakhstan, Syria, Tunisia and other countries to broker contracts for some of the world’s largest companies, including Halliburton and its former subsidiary KBR. The exposé also shows how U.S. military contractor Honeywell colluded to conceal bribes in Iraq contracts. Reporters are calling it the biggest leak of files in the history of the oil industry.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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German Historian Says AP Cooperated with Nazi Regime

AP-Hitler

March 31, 2016 Headlines

A German historian has revealed the Associated Press cooperated with the Nazi regime in the 1930s and at times supplied U.S. outlets Nazi propaganda billed as news stories. The revelations are based on archival materials unearthed by historian Harriet Scharnberg. The documents show the AP signed onto a law promising not to publish anything to “weaken” the regime. Under the law, the AP also hired reporters who worked for the Nazi propaganda division, including a photographer whose photos were personally selected by Hitler. The Associated Press says it “rejects the suggestion that it collaborated with the Nazi regime at any time.”

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise

Robert M. DeConto & David Pollard, “Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise,” Nature 531, 591–597 (31 March 2016). doi:10.1038/nature17145

Polar temperatures over the last several million years have, at times, been slightly warmer than today, yet global mean sea level has been 6–9 metres higher as recently as the Last Interglacial (130,000 to 115,000 years ago) and possibly higher during the Pliocene epoch (about three million years ago). In both cases the Antarctic ice sheet has been implicated as the primary contributor, hinting at its future vulnerability.

Here we use a model coupling ice sheet and climate dynamics—including previously underappreciated processes linking atmospheric warming with hydrofracturing of buttressing ice shelves and structural collapse of marine-terminating ice cliffs—that is calibrated against Pliocene and Last Interglacial sea-level estimates and applied to future greenhouse gas emission scenarios.

Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 15 metres by 2500, if emissions continue unabated. In this case atmospheric warming will soon become the dominant driver of ice loss, but prolonged ocean warming will delay its recovery for thousands of years.

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Global Climate Change
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Dramatic Sea Level Rise Could Flood Coastal Cities by 2100

Ice-glacier

March 31, 2016 Headlines

Coastal cities including New York, London, Shanghai and Hong Kong could be flooded before the end of the century. The dramatic new study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, predicts global warming could melt the West Antarctic ice sheet within decades—far faster than previously predicted. The collapse of this sheet, combined with ice melting in other regions, could cause seas to rise up to six feet by 2100. The study’s authors, Robert DeConto of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University, also found the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet is not yet inevitable, but that the emission reduction plans outlined in the 2015 Paris climate deal are far too weak to stop the sheet from melting.
http://www.democracynow.org/2016/3/31/headlines/dramatic_sea_level_rise_could_flood_coastal_cities_by_2100

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Global Climate Change
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Climate Model Predicts Melting of West Antarctic Ice Sheet Could Double Sea Level Rise

A view of icebergs calving from Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica in 2014. Researchers found that total rise of the sea could reach five or six feet by 2100. Photo credit: Jim Yungel / NASAAndy Rowell, Oil Change International | March 31, 2016 10:33 am | CommentsIt is no longer a question of “if” the unthinkable happens, but a question of “when.” And the “when” could happen sooner than you think.

For decades climate scientists have been worried about what happens if the vast West Antarctic ice sheet melts.

The melting of the ice-sheet, which is greater than the size of Mexico, has always been seen as somewhat of a doomsday scenario as it has to the potential to rise sea level by several meters. This is due to the fact that much of the ice-sheet sits on the ground, rather than floats.

Scientists have known about the threat for decades. As the respected British environmental journalist, Paul Brown, wrote 20 years ago in his book Global Warming—Can Civilization Survive?: If the West Antarctic Ice sheet melted “it could add between 4 and 7 m (13-23 feet) to sea level rise … such figures appear to create the potential for a series of large-scale catastrophes.”

By its very nature, any sea level rise of this nature would be catastrophic—wiping out most coastal cities and low-lying areas.

Maybe because the thought is so unthinkable, it has been easy to dismiss. The deniers and climate skeptics have long responded that this kind of speculation was scaremongering.

The other source of comfort is that even in their worst nightmare scenarios, scientists thought that this would happen over a period of hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

But not any more.

Scientists now believe that that the vast ice sheet is melting much more quickly than before, in part due to rising air temperatures as well as rising sea-temperatures.

Yesterday a paper, published in the prestigious journal Nature predicted that “Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100.”

Added to melting ice in other regions, this means that sea level rise could be some five to six feet higher by the end of this century.

As the New York Times reports: “That is roughly twice the increase reported as a plausible worst-case scenario by a United Nations panel just three years ago and so high it would likely provoke a profound crisis within the lifetimes of children being born today.”

…(read more).

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Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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