Daily Archives: August 3, 2016

Moon Express cleared for lunar landing – BBC News

Moon Express has become the first private firm to win US approval for an unmanned mission to the moon.

The two-week mission was given the go-ahead by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

The plan is to send a suitcase-sized lander to the moon in late 2017.

The lander, which is not yet completed, will be carried on a rocket made by Rocket Lab, a start-up firm which has not launched any commercial missions.

Science experiments and some commercial cargo will be carried on the one-way trip to the lunar surface.

Moon Express also plans to beam pictures back to the Earth.

What if you could mine the moon?

“The Moon Express 2017 mission approval is a landmark decision by the US government and a pathfinder for private sector commercial missions beyond Earth’s orbit,” said Moon Express co-founder Bob Richards.

His partner, Naveen Jain, says the company is keen to explore the possibilities of mining on the moon.

“In the immediate future we envision bringing precious resources, metals and moon rocks back to Earth,” he said.

Mr Jain, was born in India, but moved to the US in 1979 where he worked in the technology industry and founded technology firms.

Co-founder Bob Richards is a Canadian-born space entrepreneur, and the firm’s third founder is entrepreneur Barney Pell.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

360 by bike – Climate Stories.

Every day, we feel the effects of climate change growing stronger. Our forests are burning, the seas are rising, and people are being forced from their homelands, their livelihoods lost. And in many ways, in many places, we’re still pushing our society towards the brink.

At the same time, we’re starting to stir. People from all walks of life are engaging with big issues and reshaping their communities in a more sustainable light.

I’m Forrest Watkins, and I want to help share the human story of climate change. So I’m cycling–from China through Central Asia to Europe, then through Africa and on to the Americas. As I go, I meet with communities, organizations and individuals, and do my best to pass their stories on to you.

360 by bike will be a platform for artists, activists, scientists and writers from around the world, as we come together to tell the story of climate change, of impacts to communities on the front lines, of their resilience and adaptation, and of a rising tide of people, of organizations, businesses and communities that are standing up for a just and sustainable future.

Check out our Climate Stories and updates from the road.

Global Climate Change
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Kochs’ Ground Game in Election Will Support Trump No Matter What

There’s no love lost between the billionaire brothers and the Republican candidate, but Trump will still benefit from their efforts.

By Adele M. Stan / AlterNet   August 2, 2016

Rally against the Koch brothers attempt to buy Los Angeles Times
Photo Credit: peoplesworld/Flickr

Every time Charles Koch indicates his distaste for Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, media types run with a story that says Trump will receive no help from the vast network of non-profits and political donors overseen by Koch and his brother, David.

Don’t believe a word of it.

Just days ago at a gathering in Colorado Springs, Koch told some 80 Koch network donors that he and the network would not support Trump, despite the urging of some of the network’s backers. Conflicting reports emerged about whether a meeting between the Kochs and Trump had been or would be sought by either: The Wall Street Journal reported that one of the network’s donors, Doug Deason, was urging Charles Koch to meet with Trump, while Trump tweeted that he had turned down a meeting with the brothers, instructing them to meet with “the puppets of politics,” whatever that means.

Yet Politico’s Kenneth P. Vogel reported on June 17 that Mark Holden, chief counsel for Koch Industries and chairman of the board of the Koch network’s Freedom Partners pass-through group, met with Trump’s top campaign staff.

While there is no love lost between the billionaire brothers and the GOP standard-bearer, Trump stands to benefit from their efforts in the 2016 election cycle, even if their focus is on elections other than the presidential. It’s as simple as this: If you get voters to the polls in order to vote for the Senate or House candidate of your choice, chances are good they’ll vote for the presidential candidate who appears on the same ticket.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Latest Climate Report: Heat, More Heat and Signs of Worse to Come | InsideClimate News

2015 featured record warm temperatures on every inhabited continent as ice melted and the seas rose at alarming rates. By Bob Berwyn Aug 2, 2016

India, like much of the world, experienced record heat and drought in 2015. Credit: Getty Images

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2015 State of the Climate report unleashed a flood of statistics that should overwhelm whatever doubts remain of global warming’s already startling impacts, scientists said Tuesday.

For the first time since record-keeping started, the average annual global temperature exceeded pre-industrial levels by more than 1 degree Celsius. Record to near-record warmth was common on every inhabited continent. Sea surface temperatures and heat content in the upper levels of the ocean also set records, as did sea level, which crept up to 2.75 inches above the 1993 level, when the satellite altimeter record started. Glaciers around the world retreated for the 36th year in a row, the report said.

“As I often point out now, the impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” said climate scientist Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. “They are playing out before us, in real time. The 2015 numbers drive that home.”

The strong El Niño weather system in the Pacific played a role in many of the record statistics last year, but they are also signs that an overheated planet is reacting in alarming ways, according to Anders Levermann, a sea level rise expert with the Potsdam Climate Institute in Germany.

“Increasing the temperature of the planet will increase the risk of tipping of climatic systems like the West Antarctic ice sheet,” he said. “Sea level is rising with every degree of warming that we induce by carbon emissions.”

Levermann said even if those emissions were capped today, the sea would keep rising. “Each degree Celsius of warming adds about 8 feet to the eventual sea level rise that we are committed to in the long term,” he said.

The report, released Tuesday, compiles work by more than 450 scientists from 62 countries who evaluated tens of thousands of measurements taken by land, ocean, ice and space-based instruments. It shows how the planet is being affected both by the temporary El Niño temperature surge and the long-term warming trend, said Thomas R. Karl, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Citing changes in the distribution of fish species in Arctic waters, Karl said the impacts of global warming are clearly having significant impact on life on this planet now.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

The Movement for Black Lives calls for fossil fuel divestment

By Aura Bogado on Aug 1, 2016

The Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 50 groups including Black Lives Matter, released a detailed platform today to address the challenges that disproportionately affect black people — like environmental injustice.

A Vision for Black Lives identifies

the public policies hemorrhaging the black community, and then provides possible solutions in the form of model legislation and policies.

The agenda comes in six parts, with sections that explicitly address the influence of the oil industry and environmental racism:

  • As part of the broader call to divest from criminalization and incarceration, the platform also calls for a divestment from fossil fuels. “Black people are amongst the most affected by climate change,” reads the agenda. Solutions include a strategy to invest in black cooperatives instead.
  • The call for economic justice also acknowledges environmental racism — including the way black communities have been built in close proximity to sources of pollution, like landfills and incinerators (and vice versa). Instead, the group calls for shuttering incinerators and financing renewable energy projects instead.
  • Black farmers face unique challenges, including flagrant racial discrimination. The platform suggests putting an end to black farm foreclosures and forgiving black farmer debt.

The platform focuses on policy as a tactic to address the myriad injustices black people face, including in the environment. Its release on the heels of the GOP and Democratic party conventions provides context for local, state, and federal campaigns aimed to meet the platform’s demands.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Rethinking Economics – Newsletter – July 2016

In July we unveiled two key projects we are working on. Firstly, our mission to facilitate ‘citizen economists’ in collaboration with the RSA. Second, our new book has begun to feature in the press – its due for publication November 2016.

There is also an opportunity to contribute a submission to the Mark Blaug Student Essay Prize, brought to you in cooperation with the Federation for European Economic Development.

…(read more).

See

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Declare Global Warming Emergency – Climate Emergency Coalition

We, the citizens of our nation and of our Earth, are endowed with certain rights, powers, and obligations, which demand we act both individually and collectively to protect and preserve the ongoing evolution of life on Earth, including our future generations.

Based upon a preponderance of scientific evidence we recognize our global climate is rapidly warming and becoming increasingly unstable due to human-caused carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels. If we do not change course before global warming tipping points are crossed, this destabilization of our climate will continue to cause ever-increasing suffering and potentially irreversible devastation for both current and future generations. If left unresolved, it could cause the extinction, or near extinction, of the human species.

We further recognize that rapidly escalating global warming and its consequent climate destabilization is the greatest currently active threat to the security of all nations, comparable in scope of impact to global nuclear war. Escalating average global temperature rises will lead to destabilization affecting first millions, then billions of people forced to deal with ongoing climate catastrophes, food and other resource depletion, and mass migrations.

Nearly all of the major problems our world faces today worsen and multiply due to escalating global warming. All of the ecological, economic and political problems listed below will cross-intensify and therefore worsen as average global temperatures rises.

  • Food and resource depletion
  • Severe droughts, floods, and wildfires
  • Rising sea levels
  • Water pollution and water table loss
  • Desertification and deforestation
  • Ocean fish stock depletions
  • Growing economic inequity, poverty, and instability
  • Political instability and injustice
  • War and regional conflicts
  • Increasing potential of pandemics and other health crises

Despite 30 years of education, study, and discussion about the possible irreversible effects of human-caused carbon and methane pollution of our atmosphere, global warming temperatures have escalated to levels that may have already passed or be close to passing global warming tipping points with impacts that are irreversible. We must immediately reverse the continued rise of average global temperature by decreasing human-caused production of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels.

Failure to resolve global warming for ourselves and future generations is simply not a survivable option.

As global citizens of every nation on Earth, we ask you, our national leaders, to initiate the necessary steps to formally declare a national and international global warming State of Emergency, calling for the immediate allocation of the needed research, resources, personnel, and interventions to quickly resolve this State of Emergency and sustainably protect, preserve, and advance the continued evolution of humanity and life on Earth.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice