Daily Archives: October 1, 2016

We Are Not Alone: Listening to the 8.7 Million Other Animals Who Live on Earth

Saturday, 01 October 2016 00:00 By JP Sottile, Truthout

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout; Adapted: orangeacid, Reto Stöckli / NASA )

Space. They say it’s the final frontier.

And they’ve probably been saying it for a long, long time. According to a recent study, active human exploration of space dates back at least 6,000 years. That’s when our star-struck ancestors constructed the first known “telescope” to assist them in their eager search of the observable universe.

We’ve certainly come — and gone — a long way since those and landed on a surprisingly water-worn Mars. We’ve literally traveled time through the awe-inspiring “Deep Field” images collected by the Hubble telescope. And now the Kepler space observatory is bringing us tantalizingly closer to answering one of our oldest and most profound questions: Are we alone in the universe?”

So far, the orbiting telescope has found hundreds of potentially life-giving exoplanets peppered around the galaxy. It also found a surprising data anomaly that made big news as the beguilingly named “Alien Megastructure” star. The oddity of its intermittent, possibly structured dips in brightness sparked a truly earth-shattering hypothesis: What if an advanced civilization built a “megastructure” around the distant sun in a bid to harvest its energy? Or, even better, what if they placed a Jupiter-sized thingamajig in front of the star to signal their presence to other beings who, like them, longingly scan the universe in search of companionship?

Imagine how instantly gratified we’d be to find out we weren’t the only intelligent beings probing the deep, dark vacuum of space! It would be the ultimate validation. But this faint new hope of finding new kinship on a new planet is based on a fundamental fallacy. The fallacy is the notion that we are alone in the first place.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

The Report – FEU-US

Study by former IPCC chair comes amid rash of new research, all predicting the Earth will soon blow by key global warming thresholds

Indeed, "There is No Planet B." (Photo: theverb.org/cc/flickr)

Indeed, “There is No Planet B.” (Photo: theverb.org/cc/flickr)

To much fanfare, global leaders have agreed to tackle the climate crisis by ratifying the Paris climate agreement, but a group of esteemed scientists is warning that current pledges to reduce emissions are far from sufficient and, in fact, put the world on track to reaching the dangerous 2°C climate threshold by 2050.

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer Published on  Friday, September 30, 2016 by Common Dreams

“The pledges are not going to get even close,” said Sir Robert Watson, former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and lead author of a new report out Thursday. “If you governments of the world are really serious, you’re going to have to do way, way more.”

Aptly titled The Truth About Climate Change, the report, put forth by the Argentina-based Universal Ecological Fund (Fundación Ecológica Universal FEU-US), comes amid a rash of new research, all suggesting that key global warming thresholds will be reached much more rapidly than previously thought.

Led by Watson, the team examined the climate commitments, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), put forth by COP21 signatories and concluded that the delayed commitment to climate action has essentially eliminated the possibility to keeping the Earth’s temperature increase beneath 1.5°C.

The report states:

[T]he 1.5°C target has almost certainly already been missed because of the lack of action  to stop the increase in global GHG emissions for the last 20 years. Global average temperature  has already reached 1°C above pre-industrial times in 2015, as reported by the World  Meteorological Organization. This is a significant increase, compared to the 0.85°C above pre-industrial times in 2012 reported by the IPCC. An additional warming of 0.4-0.5°C is expected as a consequence of GHGs that have already been emitted. This additional increase in global  temperature is due to the slow response of the ocean-atmosphere system to the increased atmospheric concentrations of GHGs.

Global GHG emissions are not projected to decrease fast enough, even if all the pledges are fully implemented. Full implementation of the pledges will require the promised US$100 billion per year in financial assistance for developing countries to be realized. As a result, the 1.5°C target could be reached by the early 2030s and the 2°C target by 2050.

Further, the researchers minced no words when laying the blame for the missed targets on “political and sectoral interests,” including those “benefiting from the use of fossil fuels,” for promoting “deliberate misinformation” about the current situation.

Thursday’s study, which came just one day before European leaders agreed on a fast-track, joint ratification of the Paris accord, concludes with a call for nations to “rais[e] the ambition of the INDCs” and commit to “a radical change in the way the world produces and uses energy.”

See the report:

Full Text of Report

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Petition · Barack Obama: Open Letter on Implementing and Strengthening the Paris A greement on Climate Change

To the heads of government of the top 25 greenhouse gas-emitting countries,

We urge you to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change if you have not already done so, and to implement the measures necessary to fulfil the pledges you gave there without delay. Unfortunately, even if all governments implement the unconditional pledges they have made so far, global warming is still likely to reach about 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels. Therefore, much more vigorous action is necessary for a reasonable chance of limiting global warming to 2°C.

Furthermore, the Paris Agreement recognises that limiting global warming to 1.5°C rather than 2°C ‘would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change’, and therefore governments meeting in Paris agreed that they would pursue ‘efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C’ (Article 2.1.(a)). Limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires even more radical and vigorous action.

Consequently, we also urge you to strengthen the pledges you have given, to put them in line with what is required to meet the 1.5°C target, and to implement the measures necessary to fulfil those pledges as quickly as possible. Such measures include accelerating energy efficiency efforts; rapid decarbonisation of the global energy and industry sectors; immediate removal of all fossil fuel subsidies; no new fossil fuel extraction projects or power generation plants; and urgent exploration, development, and scale-up of negative emission technologies.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

The Anthropocene: Where on Earth are we going? Prof Will Steffen (December 2015)

E120, e130,

USDA Biochar research overview (2014)

E120, e130, food-matters,

Biochar and Mycorrhizal fungi (2014)

E120, e130, food-matters,

Can civilisation survive really existing capitalism? | Noam Chomsky

UCD – University College Dublin

Published on Apr 3, 2013

Noam Chomsky: Can civilisation survive really existing capitalism?
UCD Philosophy Society Inaugural Lecture 2013
Full story: http://www.ucd.ie/news/2013/04APR13/0…

One of the world’s leading intellectuals and political activists, Professor Noam Chomsky has been awarded the UCD Ulysses Medal, the highest honour that University College Dublin can bestow.

The award was inaugurated in 2005, as part of the university’s sesquicentennial celebrations, to highlight the ‘creative brilliance’ of UCD alumnus James Joyce. It is awarded to individuals whose work has made an outstanding global contribution.

Professor Chomsky was presented with the UCD Ulysses Medal by the President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady, following a public lecture hosted by the UCD Philosophy Society and the UCD School of Philosophy at University College Dublin on Tuesday 02 April 2013.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice