Delegates from more than 100 governments and many of the world’s top climate scientists are meeting in Copenhagen this week to finalize a report that will be used as a foundation for important upcoming climate summits. The leaked United Nations draft report, due to be published on Nov. 2nd, says climate change may have “serious, pervasive and irreversible” impacts on human society and nature.
Hopes are set on a new, post-Kyoto Protocol global climate agreement to be reached at the Paris summit at the end of 2015. There will a major climate meeting in Lima, Peru at the end of this year to help set the framework for the 2015 gathering.
“The report will be a guide for us,” Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, told Reuters.
This final report is a synthesis of three comprehensive IPCC reports published over the course of the last year. Those reports focused on the physical science; impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and mitigation. This flagship report received over 2,000 comments from government officials relating to changes to be made prior to publication.
According to a Reuters analysis, many governments want the draft to be written in a more clear and accessible manner with a focus on extreme weather events such as storms, heat waves, and floods. The U.S. wrote that the report needs to be useful for those without deep technical knowledge of climate issues.
“What about drought? Cyclones? Wildfires? Policymakers care deeply about extreme events,” the U.S. team wrote. “After all, in many ways it is how extreme events will change that will determine many of the (near-term, at least) impacts from climate change. As such, the authors should strongly consider saying more about the projected changes in extreme events.”
>U.S. commenters also wrote that the report should stress impacts on rich countries more, saying “there are very few references to the vulnerability of wealthier countries to climate change.”
The E.U. team wrote that “the key messages should contain more substance that can help guide policy makers rather than general overarching statements,” and that “the overall storyline … is sometimes not clear and still looks fragmented.”
While the report warns of the dire consequences of the continued rise of GHGs, it also says the worst impacts can still be avoided. It states that a combination of adaptation and substantial, sustained reductions in GHGs can limit climate change risks and reduce the costs and challenges of mitigation.
Over the past five years some 2,000 scientists worked on the fifth iteration of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change’s Assessment Report. With leaders gathering to finalize the report this week, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, urged world governments not to be overcome by hopelessness as they engage in negotiations.
“May I humbly suggest that policymakers avoid being overcome by the seeming hopelessness of addressing climate change,” he said. “Tremendous strides are being made in alternative sources of clean energy. There is much we can do to use energy more efficiently. Reducing and ultimately eliminating deforestation provides additional avenues for action.”
In one hopeful indication, last week leaders of the European Union agreed to cut emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. European leaders hope this will build momentum for when the bloc hosts the critical Paris climate summit next year, and that it will encourage other major emitters yet to make pledges — such as the U.S. and China — to rise to the occasion. Countries have until early next year to announce the targets they intend to negotiate with at the Paris summit.
On this Labor Day (September 1, 2014) Community Radio Station WORT-FM, 89.9 will broadcast a special program on its weekly show “The Access Hour”, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. The Labor Day show is called: “Planet Earth: It Needs Our Help Now More Than Ever!”. The show can be heard live on radio in the listening area – south central Wisconsin including Madison, Wisconsin where it originates. The show can also be listened to anywhere in the world at http://www.wortfm.org. All earthlings are invited to listen in then, or on the archive of the WORTFM.org website at their convenience.
The program will consist of both music and dialog, appropriate to issues that confront many of us and those important to all of us and future generations.
Accordingly, I have initiated a petition drive to demand our federal and state legislative leaders to take immediate and major actions that will jointly confront these issues. If you wish to read and sign the petition, please do so. It’s sorely needed. Please send me an email to MTNeuman@gmail.com requesting it and I’ll forward the link to use for signing the petition.
The program being advanced advocating is designed to minimize our fossil burning before it’s too late, by telling our government to establish a program that provides positive financial incentives – supplemental income – for all individuals and families who burn less fuel annually: (1) by driving less or no miles (more $ for not at all); (2) by not flying in that year; and (3) by using less fossil fuel derived energy in heating, cooling and using electricity derived from burning fossil fuel in the year than the average household in a year. Money can be earned by doing (1), more by doing (2) and even more by doing (3), yearly,
Money used to finance this program could come from a number sources:
1) Money the U.S. Department of Transportation and states SAVE (billions of dollars) by not paving even more lanes of highways and bridges on the landscape with cement and asphalt (both require fossil fuel burning) to accommodate more driving of motor vehicles;
2) Money the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration would SAVE (more billions of dollars) by requiring the commercial airlines pay air flight controllers, instead of the federal government (U.S. citizens) providing these employees for the exclusive financial interests of commercial airlines and aviation fuel suppliers.
3) Money from levying a tax on all carbon emitted by electrical power generation plants in the U.S. which burn fossil fuels (more billions of dollars), and emitted by the transportation sector (jets, cars, motorcycles, trucks, trains and buses, work vehicles and fossil fueled equipment, and recreational vehicles, including but not limited to ATVs, motor boats, snowmobiles, jet skis).
4) Money from other extravagant federal expenditures, such as the billions of dollars paid to private defense contractors, at home and abroad, and also the billions of dollars of subsidies the U.S. government (American taxpayers) presently awards to the fossil fuel industry (coal, oil, natural gas) operating in the U.S..
Only individuals and families in the U.S. who conserve energy (emit fewer greenhouse gases) by driving less (or no) miles; by not flying; and by using less fossil fuel derived energy in their home during a year would earn the REWARDS.
More detailed information on this proposal can be viewed on the Conserve, NOW! post of August 16. 2014.
The US House of Representatives last week approved a bill that would grant Israel over $600 million of American taxpayers’ money in military aid.
The military aid package is part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2015 adopted Thursday by members of the House, which is controlled by a pro-Israel Republican majority.
The bill includes an amendment that would bar the Department of Defense from using funds to assess climate change and its implications for national security.
The amendment, from Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), passed in what was nearly a party-line vote, aims to block the U.S. from taking any significant action related to climate change or its potential consequences:
“None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nation’s Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866.”
Wrote McKinley in a memo to House colleagues: “This amendment will prohibit the costs of the President’s climate change policies being forced on the Department of Defense by the Obama Administration.” The memo was dated last Thursday and was obtained by The Huffington Post. Making little of the growing global climate catastrophe, McKinley’s memo sais: “The climate is obviously changing; it has always been changing. With all the unrest around the [world], why should Congress divert funds from the mission of our military and national security to support a political ideology?”
Research suggests, however, that the Department of Defense has a number of reasons to be worried about climate change. The department said in its own evaluation last year that climate change presents infrastructure challenges at home and abroad. Meanwhile, a March Pentagon report found that climate change impacts are “threat multipliers,” and that the rapid rise of global temperatures and associated extreme weather events could exacerbate issues like “poverty, environmental degradation, political instability and social tensions — conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.”
Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) sent a letter to colleagues on Thursday calling the McKinley measure “irresponsible.”
“Science denial will not solve the problem,” they wrote.
Source: Kate Sheppard, Huffington Post
Our Children’s Future is being Sabotaged by the Failure of U.S. Congress and Wisconsin Politicians to Act NOW to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
Things have gone real bad for our natural and human environment in Wisconsin, and especially for poor Black children in the state, under the governorship of Scott Walker. There may still be time to fix things, but scientists the world over say now that “major action is needed and fast” – from everyday people, from all businesses, and especially from all current and acting government officials. It is morally wrong for them not to act now, both meaningfully and without delay, for the sake of today’s children. It is they who will face the brunt of global warming impacts as this century progresses.
The effects of rising greenhouse gas concentration level in the atmosphere are latent and slow to develop. But once they do – and they are beginning to do that now – those effects are long-lasting. Decades and centuries, not just years. And more warming also creates chain reactions, producing positive feedbacks that lead to more warming;for example, reducing snow and ice cover at the poles leads to a reduction in albedo (reflection of Sun’s rays back out to space). Because less of the Sun’s radiation is reflected, more is absorbed by the darker (than snow) ocean, thus warming the ocean waters, which causes more snow and ice on the ocean to melt, reducing albedo at the poles even more, warming the water even more and so on. This has already been measured as happening now.
Another example of the positive feedbacks of more warming is that the Permafrost region, which covers one-fifth of the earth’s surface, is now thawing. The thawing of eons of organic material in the Permafrost causes the production and release of methane gas, which is another greenhouse gas (in addition to carbon dioxide and several others) that has 37-times the heat absorbing power of carbon dioxide in the earth atmosphere. This will add to the warming that is already occurring. Add the additional warming will cause even more methane to be released by the thawing Permafrost region. And so on. This dangerous compounding and reoccurring effect has already started as well.
It’s time to Conserve, Now! – for all children living today, and especially for those who follow them. Maybe by that time humans will find a way to safely combat the warming temperatures and rising oceans. But there is much yet that has to happen. The latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are out, and farming and consumption as practiced in the U.S. must change in many ways. Researchers say climate change has already cut yields of wheat and corn, reducing gains achieved by better farming technology. Meat and dairy production consumes vast amount of fossil fuel derived energy, and animal waste adds more methane to the atmosphere.
Making matters worse, world population is expected to hit nine billion by 2050. The world’s population needs to be reduced, not allowed to grow more rapidly. To do that, aid and education will need to be given to countries having out of control population explosions. We are morally obligated to help them on this for the sake of all humanity. Future and distant future populations need to be given a chance. To achieve that, all the world’s countries need to drastically reduce all activities causing the most greenhouse gases to be emitted by their people and industries, while everyone should be encouraging activities that will sequester greenhouse gases from the atmosphere (growing plants and trees, primarily). Some of this is starting now and such initiatives should be amplified in number and be heavily financed by countries that have historically deforested the world while burning up the most fossil fuels.
There should be only a minimum number of fossil fuel development projects developed, and only the most clean and energy efficient fuel should be taken from the earth for combustion. The goal should be to obtain as much power from wind, solar and and renewable energies as possible.
An Act of Congress, approved May 13, 1938, made November 11th of each year a U. S. federal holiday. Bells were rung throughout the world on November 11, 1918, the day that World War I, which the U.S. Congress called “the war to end all war”. The Act stated that it was the nation’s desire to have peaceful future, away from war, and that each November 11th from then on “shall be a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.”
However, on June 1, 1954, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans”, which enabled Americans to honor all veterans of wars the U.S. has engaged in. The organization Veteran’s For Peace, Inc., holds that Congress’s changing the word “Armistice” in the original law to “Veterans” the 1954 law changed the focus of the holiday from preserving the peace to “honoring warriors and war”, furthermore states “that too often rhetoric and patriotic symbols are used instead of genuine compensation for the extraordinary sacrifices and services of military personnel…”.
The Veterans for Peace also states (in its 2008 proclamation) that “the ringing of bells is so much more fitting and peaceful than the often practiced gun salutes and fighter plane flyovers” and Veterans For Peace, Inc. urges its membership to adopt the procedure of honoring peace by focusing on bell ringing on Armistice Day, November 11 and other solemn occasions”. The following, as well as the picture above, is taken from their website:
Veterans For Peace calls for the observance of Veterans Day to be in keeping with the holiday’s original intent. Congressional Act (52 Stat.351: 5U.S. Code, Sec.87a) approved May 13, 1938, made November 11th of each year a legal Federal Holiday,“A day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”
The ceasefire on the, “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918 along the European Western Front was such a relief to all those involved as the world had never seen such horror and carnage as World War I. The horrible conflict that had come to be known as the “War to End War” brought the bulk of humanity to contemplate abolishing war.
Veterans For Peace calls on its members and allies to observe Veterans Day by rejecting militarism and the glorification of war. We call on the nation to honor veterans and all those who have died in war by working for peace and the prevention of war. There is no better way to honor the dead than to protect the living from the fear, terror and morale deprivation of war.
VFP Resolution Submitted by Bob Heberle, VFP Chapter 27, (Endorsed by VFP Chapter 27)
Whereas bells worldwide were rung on November 11, 1918 to celebrate and recognize the ending of WWI, “The war to end all wars” and
Whereas to commemorate that peaceful pledge, bells were rung November 11 for over 35 years, and
Whereas, legislation making November 11 a holiday passed in 1938, ” Shall be a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” and
Whereas the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars, and
Whereas the substitution of the word “Armistice” to “Veterans” changes the focus from peace to war by celebrating and honoring warriors and war, and
Whereas that November date symbolized the nation’s desire to hold to a peaceful future and away from war, and
Whereas, too often rhetoric and patriotic symbols are used instead of genuine compensation for the extraordinary sacrifices and services of military personnel, and
Whereas 90% of victims of wars are now civilians and by honoring only veterans, the public is distracted from the awful price paid by those other than military members, and
Whereas Chapter #27 has for over 17 years promoted the ringing of a bell eleven times at its ceremonies on November 11 and at other solemn occasions such as funerals to remind the public of that Armistice Day peace pledge, and
Whereas the ringing of bells is so much more fitting and peaceful than the often practiced gun salutes and fighter plane flyovers.
Therefore Be It Resolved that Veterans For Peace, Inc. urges its membership to adopt the procedure of honoring peace by focusing on bell ringing on Armistice Day, November 11 and other solemn occasions.
Approved at the 2008 VFP national convention.