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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

"Covering Climate Now" continues

Just watched a WHUT Amanpour & Co interview with Naomi Klein. Bought her book and have begun studying it.

ON A FRIDAY IN MID-MARCH 2019, they streamed out of schools in little rivulets, burbling with excitement and defiance at an illicit act of truancy. The little streams emptied onto grand avenues and boulevards, where they combined with other flows of chanting and chatting children and teens, dressed in leopard leggings and crisp uniforms and everything in between. 

Soon the rivulets were rushing rivers: 100,000 bodies in Milan, 40,000 in Paris, 150,000 in Montreal. 

Cardboard signs bobbed above the surf of humanity: THERE IS NO PLANET B! DON’T BURN OUR FUTURE. THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE! 

Some placards were more intricate. In New York City, a girl held up a lush painting of delicate bumble bees, flowers, and jungle animals. From a distance, it looked like a school project on biodiversity; up close, it was a lament for the sixth mass extinction: 45% OF INSECTS LOST TO CLIMATE CHANGE. 60% OF ANIMALS HAVE DISAPPEARED IN THE LAST 50 YEARS. At the center she had painted an hourglass rapidly running out of sand. 

For the young people who participated in the first ever global School Strike for Climate, learning has become a radicalizing act. In early readers, textbooks, and big-budget documentary films, they learned of the existence of ancient glaciers, dazzling coral reefs, and exotic mammals that make up our planet’s many marvels. And then, almost simultaneously—from teachers, older siblings, or sequels to those same films—they discovered that much of this wonder has already disappeared, and much of the rest of it will be on the extinction block before they hit their thirties. 

But it wasn’t only learning about climate change that moved these young people to march out of class en masse. For a great many of them, it was also living it. Outside the legislature building in Cape Town, South Africa, hundreds of young strikers chanted at their elected leaders to stop approving new fossil fuel projects. It was just one year ago that this city of four million people was in the clutches of such severe drought that three-quarters of the population faced the prospect of turning on the tap and having nothing come out at all. CAPE TOWN IS APPROACHING DROUGHT “DAY ZERO,” read a typical headline. Climate change, for these kids, was not something to read about in books or to fear off in the distance. It was as present and urgent as thirst itself...

Klein, Naomi. On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal (pp. 1-2). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
Video segment link here. Can't as yet find an iFrame video embed link, notwithstanding skulking around in the web page html source code. But, below, a recent related interview essentially covering the same ground:

I've been aware of her work since her Harper's piece "Baghdad Year Zero" (pdf).
…[G]overnments, even neoconservative governments, rarely get the chance to prove their sacred theory right: despite their enormous ideological advances, even George Bush's Republicans are, in their own minds, perennially sabotaged by meddling Democrats, intractable unions, and alarmist environmentalists. 

Iraq was going to change all that. In one place on Earth, the theory would finally be put into practice in its most perfect and uncompromised form. A country of 25 million would not be rebuilt as it was before the war; it would be erased, disappeared. In its place would spring forth a gleaming showroom for laissez- faire economics, a utopia such as the world had never seen. Every policy that liberates multinational corporations to pursue their quest for profit would be put into place: a shrunken state, a flexible workforce, open borders, minimal taxes, no tariffs, no ownership restrictions. The people of Iraq would, of course, have to endure some short-term pain: assets, previously owned by the state, would have to be given up to create new opportunities for growth and investment. Jobs would have to be lost and, as foreign products flooded across the border, local businesses and family farms would, unfortunately, be unable to compete. But to the authors of this plan, these would be small prices to pay for the economic boom that would surely explode once the proper conditions were in place, a boom so powerful the country would practically rebuild itself...
Yeah. And, with respect to the global warming exigency, let's be clear: the barriers to mitigation and reversal are essentially entirely politico-economic. Multinational extractive dirty fuels purveyors and their associated incumbents will not go quietly.

From Why Trust Science?
Professor Oreskes agrees that more work is needed on how to move from science to policy. Yet she insists that when powerful actors to seek to undermine public trust in the science associated with progressive climate policy, the roots of their skepticism are typically not in distrust of science but rather in economic self-interest and ideological commitments. 


I posted this stuff back in 2015 when I was living in the SF Bay Area, now has just a tad of "link rot."


Link (pdf)
The importance of the ocean and cryosphere for people
All people on Earth depend directly or indirectly on the ocean and cryosphere. The global ocean covers 71% of the Earth surface and contains about 97% of the Earth’s water. The cryosphere refers to frozen components of the Earth system1. Around 10% of Earth’s land area is covered by glaciers or ice sheets. The ocean and cryosphere support unique habitats, and are interconnected with other components of the climate system through global exchange of water, energy and carbon. The projected responses of the ocean and cryosphere to past and current human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and ongoing global warming include climate feedbacks, changes over decades to millennia that cannot be avoided, thresholds of abrupt change, and irreversibility…
As reported in The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — Earth’s oceans are under severe strain from climate change, a major new United Nations report warns, threatening everything from the ability to harvest seafood to the well-being of hundreds of millions of people living along the coasts.

Rising temperatures are contributing to a drop in fish populations in many regions, and oxygen levels in the ocean are declining while acidity levels are on the rise, posing risks to important marine ecosystems, according to the report issued Wednesday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders in policymaking.

In addition, warmer ocean waters, when combined with rising sea levels, threaten to fuel ever more powerful tropical cyclones and floods, the report said, further imperiling coastal regions and worsening a phenomenon that is already contributing to storms like Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston two years ago.

“The oceans are sending us so many warning signals that we need to get emissions under control,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, a marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany and a lead author of the report. “Ecosystems are changing, food webs are changing, fish stocks are changing, and this turmoil is affecting humans.”…
 Read all of it. Rather depressing, but read it all anyway.

A Last Chance to Stop the Deluge
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s newest report lays out the troubles plaguing warming oceans and the ways in which they could get worse.

Today, a baby girl was born. Consider the years of her life—how she’ll think back to her childhood in the Twenties (the 2020s) and become a teenager in the Thirties. If she’s an American citizen, she’ll cast her first vote for president in the 2040 election; she might graduate from college a year or two later. In the year 2050, she’ll turn 31, and she’ll be both fully grown up and young enough to look to the end of the century—and imagine she may get to see it.

We hold the fate of that girl—and of the society she inhabits—in our hands. That’s the message of a blockbuster new report, also released today, from the United Nations-led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

While the report covers how climate change is reshaping the oceans and ice sheets, its deeper focus is how water, in all its forms, is closely tied to human flourishing…
Again, read all of it.
This release concludes a trilogy of special reports from the IPCC. The first came last October, when it warned that even “moderate” warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius would generate irreparable damage; and the second was published last month, with a summary of how climate change will reshape the planet’s land surface. After this new report, the IPCC will fall silent until 2021, when it will publish its sixth major assessment of climate science.
ERRATUM, New York Times comment:

To the Editor: 
Re “Teen Activist Is Attacked From Right After Speech” (news article, Sept. 25):
While the rest of us are trying to clean up the planet, the right is spending its time insulting Greta Thunberg. If you are a Republican, it’s time to ask yourself the question: What, exactly, do I stand for? If the vast majority of scientists are right and Fox News is wrong, and the planet is really in trouble, how do I feel about jeering and mocking a solitary 16-year-old girl who made a stand for what she believed in?
How did the party of Lincoln become a group of people who are sarcastic and unserious? This is not the Republican Party I remember. We don’t stand with Greta because we like her pigtails. We don’t care about her Asperger’s. We don’t care that she’s young. We stand with her because she’s a leader. She’s relentless.
Jane Warden
Malibu, Calif.
"She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"
Of course his day would not be complete without his sarcastically insulting someone.

The 21st century is the most important century in human history.

At least that’s what a number of thinkers say. Their argument is pretty simple: Mostly, it’s that there are huge challenges that we have to surmount this century to get any future at all, making this the most consequential of all centuries so far. Furthermore, a solution to those challenges would likely mean a future farther from the brink of destruction — which makes this century more pivotal than future centuries, too.

Not all that long ago — in 1945, with the first wartime use of nuclear weapons — humankind developed the ability to destroy ourselves. Since then, we’ve only gotten better at it. There are now tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, and we’re proceeding at great speed toward other ways to endanger our civilization — from climate change to engineered pandemics to artificial intelligence to other, even more speculative future technologies…
A good read.

More to come... #CoveringClimateNow

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