CLIMATE CHANGE ROUND UP FOR THE WEEK ENDING Nov 9 2019

News Items

World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

The last advancing Juneau Icefield glacier begins its retreat

Indigenous firefighters tackle Brazil’s blazes

Did Exxon Mislead Investors About Climate-Related Risks? It’s Now Up to a Judge to Decide.

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World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

A statement published in the journal BioScience on the 40th anniversary of the first world climate conference, which was held in Geneva in 1979 was a collaboration of dozens of scientists and endorsed by further 11,000 from 153 nations.

The scientists say the urgent changes needed include ending population growth, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, halting forest destruction and slashing meat eating.

The Statement reads…

We scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat. In this paper, we present a suite of graphical vital signs of climate change over the last 40 years.

Results show greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, with increasingly damaging effects. With few exceptions, we are largely failing to address this predicament.

The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than many scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.

We suggest six critical and interrelated steps that governments and the rest of humanity can take to lessen the worst effects of climate change, covering 1) Energy, 2) Short-lived pollutants, 3) Nature, 4) Food, 5) Economy, and 6) Population.

Mitigating and adapting to climate change entails transformations in the ways we govern, manage, feed, and fulfill material and energy requirements.

We are encouraged by a recent global surge of concern.

  • Governmental bodies are making climate emergency declarations.
  • The Pope issued an encyclical on climate change.
  • Schoolchildren are striking.
  • Ecocide lawsuits are proceeding in the courts.
  • Grassroots citizen movements are demanding change.

As scientists, we urge widespread use of our vital signs and anticipate that graphical indicators will better allow policymakers and the public to understand the magnitude of this crisis, track progress, and realign priorities to alleviate climate change.

The good news is that such transformative change, with social and ecological justice, promises greater human wellbeing in the long-run than business as usual.

We believe that prospects will be greatest if policy makers and the rest of humanity promptly respond to our warning and declaration of a climate emergency, and act to sustain life on planet Earth, our only home.

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The last advancing Juneau Icefield glacier begins its retreat

The massive Taku Glacier has grown for nearly 130 years, extending deep into fjords and its namesake river southeast of the Alaska capital. Now, measurements indicate the Taku has ended its defiance of Alaska’s warming climate and become the last of the Juneau Icefield’s dozens of glaciers to retreat.

Chris McNeil, a U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist whose as-yet-unpublished scientific paper chronicles the glacier’s change, said the Taku’s reversal could send icebergs into the Inside Passage and the Port of Juneau, as it did in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

“Scientifically, I can’t say that is going to be a thing, but in the past, we know that when Taku was calving, icebergs were drifting into downtown Juneau,” he said.

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Indigenous firefighters tackle Brazil’s blazes

If the fires raging across the Amazon are controlled, much of the credit should go to the indigenous firefighters with intimate knowledge of the terrain.

SÃO PAULO, 8 November, 2019 − As global concern increases over the burning of the Amazon forest, the Brazilian government is keeping very quiet over one telling point: in many cases the people it is using to combat the flames are indigenous firefighters.

In August, the fires raging in the rainforest alarmed the world. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, variously blamed NGOs, the press and indigenous people for them, although there was plenty of evidence that many were deliberately caused by farmers and land grabbers wanting to clear the forest for cattle, crops and profit.

Bolsonaro eventually sent troops to try to extinguish the blazes. What he never acknowledged was that, far from starting the fires, hundreds of indigenous men are actually employed by a government agency to fight them, because of their first-hand forest knowledge.

Writing on the website Manchetes Socioambientais, Clara Roman, a journalist with Instituto Socioambiental(ISA), one of Brazil’s largest environmental NGOs, described the work of these firefighters. They are recruited by the Centre for the Prevention and Combat of Forest Fires, Prevfogo, a department of IBAMA, the official environment agency.

They number 700 and come from many different ethnic groups: the Tenharim, Paresí, Gavião, Xerente, Guajajara, Krikati, Terena, Kadiwéu, Xakriabá, Javaé, Karajás, Pataxó and Kayapó, including several tribes in the Xingu area.

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Did Exxon Mislead Investors About Climate-Related Risks? It’s Now Up to a Judge to Decide.

Lawyers for New York State and ExxonMobil wrapped up a landmark climate fraud trial on Thursday, shaping a tangle of testimony and evidence into competing narratives on whether the oil company misled investors about the risks it faces from climate regulation.

Jonathan Zweig, who gave the closing arguments for the New York attorney general’s office, described the case as a classic securities fraud trial that happened to be about climate change, which he said “may well be the defining risk for oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil in the coming decades.”

Zweig said the evidence showed clearly that Exxon had misled investors by downplaying those risks significantly.

Theodore Wells, the lead lawyer for Exxon, argued that the same evidence shows “that this case is meritless, that each and every allegation in the complaint is not true and not connected to the reality or the truth, and that ExxonMobil has done nothing wrong.”

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