Daily Archives: July 30, 2021

Climate Crisis Advisory Group: New body launches, modelled after British scientists’ Covid-19 initiative | Climate Change

Sir David King (pictured) is chairing the new Group. Image: ClimateRepair, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sir_David_King_-_photograph..jpg

Called the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, the new entity is headed up by the UK’s former chief scientific advisor Sir David King and has been modelled on Independent Sage – a group of scientists that has scrutinised the UK Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic since early 2020. Sir King first flagged his intention to chair such a Group in late 2020.

Members of the Group represent 10 nations and “every continent”, the body said in a statement. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) executive director Fatih Birol is one of the 14 members. Areas of expertise covered by the membership include high-level national and international agreements, water systems, behaviour change and climate change communications, climate adaptation, nature restoration and indigenous knowledge on biodiversity.

The Climate Crisis Advisory Group will host monthly updates online, recapping the global state of play in terms of climate impacts and changes to relevant policies, before providing scrutiny and recommendations. The first of these meetings will take place on Thursday (24 June) to outline the Group’s three-pronged approach for delivering “urgent, large-scale action to curb the effects of climate change”. This approach centres around reducing emissions, removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and repairing “parts of our damaged climate systems”. Geoengineering is flagged under this last pillar, along with nature restoration.

Under the first pillar, it is believed that the Group will argue that targeting net-zero globally by 2050 is not a sufficient response to the climate crisis. Alternative dates between 2035 and 2040 have been posted in a draft statement.

Between meetings, Group members will continue their own respective research and advocacy but will also be able to issue interim statements on breaking news stories and provide interviews to journalists.

“We are hoping that by putting expertise directly into the public domain we are reaching into policymakers’ decision processes, and into the financial sector and how they invest in our future,” King told the Observer.

The launch of the new Group comes shortly after a major joint report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IBPES) outlined how the global policy response to the twin climate and nature crises has, thus far, proven insufficient.

The UN’s 2020 emissions gap report concluded

that the global temperature increase by 2100 is likely to be more than 3C, while the Paris Agreement requires either a “well below” 2C pathway or 1.5C pathway. On nature, the vast majority of scientists in the field recognise that Earth is on the brink of a sixth mass extinction, and the spending gap needed to properly halt nature loss and restore key habitats is estimated to be $500bn per year.

Sarah George

Chomsky: We Need Genuine International Cooperation to Tackle the Climate Crisis | Climate Change

Activists from the climate change protest group Extinction Rebellion take part in a protest march in St. Ives, Cornwall, on June 11, 2021, on the first day of the three-day G7 summit being held from June 11-13.Ben Stansall / AFP via Getty Images By C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout Published July 29, 2021

Global warming is accelerating, bringing the world close to the edge of the precipice. Heat waves, floods and deaths are major news, and as Truthout has reported, “this summer’s record-breaking temperatures caused by a climate catastrophe that, until recently, even the most pessimistic climatologists thought was still two or three decades out.” Yet, as Noam Chomsky points out in the interview below, corporate media devoted almost as much coverage in one day to a space cowboy than it did the entire year of 2020 to the biggest crisis facing humanity.

Is the world losing the war against climate change? Why is there still climate crisis denial and inactivism? The choice is clear: We need global action to tame global warming or face apocalyptic consequences, says Chomsky, a globally renowned public intellectual who is Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona and Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is the author of more than 150 books on topics such as linguistics, international affairs, U.S. foreign policy, political economy and mass media.

C.J. Polychroniou: Climate emergency facts are piling up almost on a daily basis — extreme heat waves in various parts of the U.S. and Canada, with temperatures rising even above 49 degrees Celsius (over 120 degrees Fahrenheit); deadly floods in western Europe, with close to 200 dead and hundreds remaining unaccounted for in the flooding; and Moscow experienced its second-hottest June. In fact, the extreme weather conditions even have climate scientists surprised, and they are now wondering about the accuracy of prediction models. What are your thoughts on these matters? It appears that the world is losing the war against global warming.

Noam Chomsky: You probably remember that three years ago, Oxford physicist Raymond Pierrehumbert, a lead author of the just-released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, wrote that “it’s time to panic…. We are in deep trouble.”

What has been learned since only intensifies that warning. An IPCC draft report leaked to Agence France-Presse in June 2021 listed irreversible tipping points that are ominously close, warning of “progressively serious, centuries-long and, in some cases, irreversible consequences.”

Last November 3 was a narrow escape from what might well have been indescribable disaster. Another four years of Trump’s passionate racing to the abyss might have reached those tipping points. And if the denialist party returns to power, it may be too late to panic. We are indeed in deep trouble.

The leaked IPCC draft was from before the extreme weather events of summer 2021, which shocked climate scientists. Heating of the planet “is pretty much in line with climate model predictions from decades ago,” climate scientist Michael Mann observed, but “the rise in extreme weather is exceeding the predictions.” The reason seems to be an effect of heating of the atmosphere that had not been considered in climate studies: wobbling of the jet stream, which is causing the extreme events that have plagued much of the world in the past few weeks.

The frightening news has a good side. It may awaken global leaders to recognition of the horrors that they are creating. It’s conceivable that seeing what’s happening before their eyes might induce even the GOP and its Fox News echo chamber to indulge in a glimpse of reality.

We have seen signs of that in the COVID crisis. After years of immersion in their world of “alternative facts,” some Republican governors who have been mocking precautions are taking notice, now that the plague is striking their own states because of lack of preventive measures and vaccine refusal. As Florida took the lead nationwide in cases and deaths, Gov. Ron DeSantis backed way (only partially) from his ridicule — eliciting charges of selling out to the enemy from party stalwarts and perhaps endangering his presidential aspirations. A shift which might, however, be too late to influence the loyal party base that has been subjected to a stream of disinformation.

Possibly the sight of cities drowning and burning up may also dent GOP-Fox loyalty to the slogan “Death to intelligence, Viva death,” borrowed from the annals of fascism.

The denialism of environmental destruction naturally has an impact on public opinion. According to the most recent polls, for 58 percent of Republicans, climate change is “not an important concern.” A little over 40 percent deny that humans make a significant contribution to this impending catastrophe. And 44 percent think that “climate scientists have too much influence on climate policy debates.”

If there ever is a historical reckoning of this critical moment in history — possibly by some alien intelligence after humans have wrecked this planet — and if a Museum of Evil is established in memory of the crime, the GOP-Fox dyad will have a special room in their honor.

…(read more).