Climate change will define life and hope in the 21st Century
(and for many centuries thereafter…).
(Presented in cooperation with EarthCitizens.net)
Fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg addresses UN Climate Conference — 2018
Reports from the 2015 Climate Summit in Paris
by Mark Hertsgaard
in order of most recent…
The Nation, Dec 14, 2015: “The Fate of the World Changed In Paris, But By How Much?” https://www.thenation.com/article/the-fate-of-the-world-changed-in-paris-but-by-how-much/
Daily Beast, Dec 14, 2015: “The Paris Climate Summit: Follow the Money,” https://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/14/is-the-paris-agreement-an-amazing-achievement-or-a-disaster.html/
The Nation, Dec 11, 2015: “Scientists Warn: Paris Agreement Needs Massive Improvement,” https://www.thenation.com/article/scientists-warn-paris-climate-agreement-needs-massive-improvement/
The Nation, Dec 9, 2015: “In the Final Hours of the Climate Talks …” https://www.thenation.com/article/in-final-hours-of-climate-talks-a-1-5-degrees-c-target-is-still-on-the-table-but-is-that-a-good-thing/
The Nation, Dec 7, 2015: “With 1.5 C Target, Climate Justice Movement Poised for Surprise Win,” https://www.thenation.com/article/with-1-5-degrees-celsius-target-climate-justice-movement-poised-to-score-surprise-win/
The Nation, Nov 19, 2015: “A Lesson For Paris: Follow the Activists,” https://www.thenation.com/article/the-climate-in-paris/
The Nation, Nov 3, 2015: “Last Chance For Planet Earth,” https://www.thenation.com/article/the-paris-climate-conference-last-chance-for-planet-earth/
Outstanding books on climate change
Shock Waves : Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty
Free PDF book from World Bank (225 pages)
Free PDF Book from World Bank — 2016
SUMMARY: Ending poverty and stabilizing climate change will be two unprecedented global achievements and two major steps toward sustainable development. But the two objectives cannot be considered in isolation: they need to be jointly tackled through an integrated strategy. This report brings together those two objectives and explores how they can more easily be achieved if considered together. It examines the potential impact of climate change and climate policies on poverty reduction.
It also provides guidance on how to create a “win-win” situation so that climate change policies contribute to poverty reduction and poverty-reduction policies contribute to climate change mitigation and resilience building. The key finding of the report is that climate change represents a significant obstacle to the sustained eradication of poverty, but future impacts on poverty are determined by policy choices: rapid, inclusive, and climate-informed development can prevent most short-term impacts whereas immediate pro-poor, emissions-reduction policies can drastically limit long-term ones.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate — Naomi Klein
The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.
In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option.
In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.
Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now.
Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us.
Look for this book in your local library, order from your local bookstore (ISBN=9781451697391).
Hot: Living Through the next Fifty Years on Earth — Mark Hertsgaard
On a quest to protect the next generation from mounting climate change, renowned journalist Mark Hertsgaard offers a deeply reported blueprint on how to navigate this unavoidable new era.
“Passionate and somber…Hot’s urgent message is one that citizens and governments cannot afford to ignore.” —Boston Globe“Informative and vividly reported book…passionate.” —San Francisco Chronicle“[A] readable, passionate book . . . persuasively argues that human survival depends on bottom-up, citizen-driven government action.” —Publishers Weekly
” Climate change is well underway, writes Hertsgaard, and we must begin to adapt to it even as we work to stop it…. The author’s stated goal is to make readers feel hopeful so that they will act, but he is candid about his own lapses into despair. . . . Hopefully, this book will prompt readers to action. Starkly clear and of utmost importance.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“In Hot, one of America’s finest journalists confronts one of the world’s most urgent problems. Hertsgaard cuts through the denial and disinformation about climate change, offering a clear, tough-minded view of our predicament. More important, he shows that the worst harms of global warming are not inevitable and outlines the steps that can help to avert disaster. Hot bravely takes aim at perhaps the greatest climate threat of all: apathy.” —Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation
“I know what you’re thinking: The problem is so massive I can’t bear to read any more about it. But you’re wrong. Mark Hertsgaard not only makes the workings of climate change clear, vivid and comprehensible but gives us some reasons for hope. Some of the ways to fight or adapt to global warming are simpler—and more unexpected—than you would think, and some of the places where these lessons are being applied you never would have guessed. Hot is a lively, personal, very human piece of reportage about an issue that will ever more be at the very center of our lives.” —Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost
“Mark Hertsgaard is the master of a kind of travelogue reporting that lets you understand possibilities and problems in a deep way. But this time, one of the places he’s traveling to is the near future, and the news he brings back is equal parts scary, invigorating, and full of challenge. This is an important book.” —Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
“Like the fairy tales that Mark reads to his daughter, Chiara, Hot is full of out-sized challenges and glimmers of hope. In this brilliant postcard from the year 2060, Mark explores a world that will be defined, for better or worse, by decisions made today as we conduct a massive planetary science experiment—one that future generations will grade us on.” —Terry Tamminen, Secretary of the California EPA for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Look for this book in your local library, order from your local bookstore (ISBN=9780547750415).
Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet — by Mark Lynas
Possibly the most graphic treatment of global warming that has yet been published, Six Degrees is what readers of Al Gore’s best-selling An Inconvenient Truthor Ross Gelbspan’s Boiling Point will turn to next. Written by the acclaimed author of High Tide, this highly relevant and compelling book uses accessible journalistic prose to distill what environmental scientists portend about the consequences of human pollution for the next hundred years.
In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report projecting average global surface temperatures to rise between 1.4 degrees and 5.8 degrees Celsius (roughly 2 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of this century. Based on this forecast, author Mark Lynas outlines what to expect from a warming world, degree by degree. At 1 degree Celsius, most coral reefs and many mountain glaciers will be lost. A 3-degree rise would spell the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, disappearance of Greenland’s ice sheet, and the creation of deserts across the Midwestern United States and southern Africa. A 6-degree increase would eliminate most life on Earth, including much of humanity.
Based on authoritative scientific articles, the latest computer models, and information about past warm events in Earth history, Six Degrees promises to be an eye-opening warning that humanity will ignore at its peril.
Look for this book in your local library, order from your local bookstore (ISBN=9781426203855).
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight — Thom Hartmann
While everything appears to be collapsing around us — ecodamage, genetic engineering, virulent diseases, the end of cheap oil, water shortages, global famine, wars — we can still do something about it and create a world that will work for us and for our children’s children. The inspiration for Leonardo DiCaprio’s web movie Global Warning, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight details what is happening to our planet, the reasons for our culture’s blind behavior, and how we can fix the problem. Thom Hartmann’s comprehensive book, originally published in 1998, has become one of the fundamental handbooks of the environmental activist movement. Now, with fresh, updated material and a focus on political activism and its effect on corporate behavior, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight helps us understand—and heal—our relationship to the world, to each other, and to our natural resources.
Look for this book in your local library, order from your local bookstore (ISBN=9781400051571).
The Sixth Extinction — Elizabeth Kolbert
From a book review by Al Gore in The New York Times: “In lucid prose, [Kolbert] examines the role of man-made climate change in causing what biologists call the sixth mass extinction…This is the world we’ve made. And in her timely, meticulously researched and well-written book, Kolbert combines scientific analysis and personal narratives to explain it to us. The result is a clear and comprehensive history of earth’s previous mass extinctions—and the species we’ve lost—and an engaging description of the extraordinarily complex nature of life. Most important, Kolbert delivers a compelling call to action…Her extensive travels in researching this book, and her insightful treatment of both the history and the science all combine to make The Sixth Extinction an invaluable contribution to our understanding of present circumstances, just as the paradigm shift she calls for is sorely needed.”
Look for this book in your local library, order from your local bookstore (ISBN=9781250062185).
David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and Jane Goodall
want to talk to you about climate change
TEAM HUMAN: Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff and UK journalist George Monbiot
discuss the world we are making TOGETHER and how we could make it differently!
A town in the middle of Texas is leading the country in the use of renewable energy. Steve Inskeep, co-host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “Up First,” joins CBSN to talk about his visit to the town and how the push for renewable energy has affected the local economy.
This 2007 BBC video was prophetic about coming heat waves. On Thursday 25 July, 2019, twelve years after the video was made, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden registered the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK: 38.7 °C (101.7° F).
A few weeks earlier, France recorded its all-time highest temperature amid a blistering heat wave that baked most of Europe for a week. The temperature rose to 45.1 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in the southern village of Villevieille, state weather forecaster Meteo France said in a statement (Jun 28, 2019)
A new report from the world’s leading body on climate change says we could see catastrophic global warming by 2030, and climate scientist Michael Mann says their predictions are too conservative
Visit https://therealnews.com for more stories and help support our work by donating at https://therealnews.com/donate
Excerpts from Guardian article
“We call on you to stop what you are doing, to stop the destruction, to stop your attack on the spirits of the Earth. When you cut down the trees you assault the spirits of our ancestors. When you dig for minerals you impale the heart of the Earth. And when you pour poisons on the land and into the rivers – chemicals from agriculture and mercury from gold mines – you weaken the spirits, the plants, the animals and the land itself. When you weaken the land like that, it starts to die. If the land dies, if our Earth dies, then none of us will be able to live, and we too will all die.”
“So why do you do this? We can see that it is so that some of you can get a great deal of money. In the Kayapó language we call your money piu caprim, ‘sad leaves’, because it is a dead and useless thing, and it brings only harm and sadness.”
“You have to change the way you live because you are lost, you have lost your way. Where you are going is only the way of destruction and of death. To live you must respect the world, the trees, the plants, the animals, the rivers and even the very earth itself. Because all of these things have spirits, all of these things are spirits, and without the spirits the Earth will die, the rain will stop and the food plants will wither and die too.”
–Raoni Metuktire, chief of the indigenous Brazilian Kayapó people
Read more from The Guardian
Dennis Rivers, November 2016
This week I’ve been thinking about the struggles going on to protect water supplies on the Standing Rock Reservation, and about the Alberta tar sands projects only a few hundred miles to the north. For native peoples around the world, the Earth Herself is sacred, and Her waters as well. So poisoning the Earth, or building industrial projects that create an ongoing unknown risk of poisoning the land and water, are not just material or political issues. They are spiritual and religious issues as well. This is not a theoretical risk at all. Large amounts of Dine (Navajo) land and water have been permanently poisoned with radioactive waste from uranium mining, causing a giant spike in cancer rates. And the Alberta Tar Sands photos speak for themselves. So native peoples have little reason to trust the assurances that they, their land, and their water, are not in danger from the white man’s projects.
Reflecting on the corporations willing to endanger someone else’s water supply in order to get rich building oil pipelines, I think it is time that we gave a proper name to the psychological illness that has been haunting us for several centuries: PIDM: profit-induced-destructive-mania. I intend to rally my friends within the counseling profession to have PIDM added to the DSM-5 as a recognized mental illness.
There are many strands of PIDM at work in U.S. culture. The long term effects of tobacco and greasy hamburgers kill hundreds of thousands of people a year, yet most of us prefer to look away from the spectacle of corporations enriching themselves by selling slow death behind smiling advertisements. We accept this as fairly normal, without really working through the implication that some forms of mental illness may be fairly common. The late psychoanalyst Arno Gruen explored this at length in his book, The Insanity of Normality (which I helped to republish after it was withdrawn from publication by its bought-out publisher).
People suffering from PIDM, a syndrome I see as a spiraling disorientation of both thinking and feeling, experience a chronic narrowing of the attention until they no longer recognize the people, animals, plants, oceans, forests and waters essential to their own survival here on Planet Earth, and begin a autism-like repetitive pattern of screaming, “Drill, Baby, Drill!”. PIDM is the economic parallel to Lord Acton’s observation that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, namely, that profits tend to disorient, and enormous profits disorient enormously. The contemplation of giant wins appears to disable people’s normal survival instincts. The same processes of disoriented thought appear to be associated with nuclear power as well, where the hope of generating mind-boggling amounts of cheap electricity causes otherwise sensible people to abandon their critical faculties, leading to catastrophes such as Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Just as anorexics cannot bear to face that fact that they are killing themselves, PIDM sufferers cannot bear to face the fact that they are killing their own planet, and the life-support system for their own children and grandchildren. Because of this self-injury component, some elements of self-hatred and suicidal ideation cannot be ruled out.
PIDM is like a Zika virus of the heart (it causes people’s hearts to get smaller). We need new clinical intervention strategies to reconnect EVERYONE on the planet with their own life energies (approaches such as Joanna Macy’s “Work That Reconnects”) and slow the lethal spread of PIDM and poisoned aquifers.
A review of
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming
by David Wallace-Wells — Tim Duggan, 310 pp., $27.00
Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
by Bill McKibben — Henry Holt, 291 pp., $28.00
Climate scientists’ worst-case scenarios back in 2007, the first year the Northwest Passage became navigable without an icebreaker (today, you can book a cruise through it), have all been overtaken by the unforeseen acceleration of events. No one imagined that twelve years later the United Nations would report that we have just twelve years left to avert global catastrophe, which would involve cutting fossil-fuel use nearly by half. Since 2007, the UN now says, we’ve done everything wrong. New coal plants built since the 2015 Paris climate agreement have already doubled the equivalent coal-energy output of Russia and Japan, and 260 more are underway.
Environmental writers today have a twofold problem. First, how to overcome readers’ resistance to ever-worsening truths, especially when climate-change denial has turned into a political credo and a highly profitable industry with its own television network (in this country, at least; state-controlled networks in autocracies elsewhere, such as Cuba, Singapore, Iran, or Russia, amount to the same thing). Second, in view of the breathless pace of new discoveries, publishing can barely keep up. Refined models continually revise earlier predictions of how quickly ice will melt, how fast and high CO2 levels and seas will rise, how much methane will be belched from thawing permafrost, how fiercely storms will blow and fires will burn, how long imperiled species can hang on, and how soon fresh water will run out (even as they try to forecast flooding from excessive rainfall). There’s a real chance that an environmental book will be obsolete by its publication date.
read more (and please support The New York Review of Books) …
Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared.
A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilised the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia.
“What we saw was amazing,” Vladimir Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the university, told Reuters. “It’s an indication that the climate is now warmer than at any time in the last 5,000 or more years.“
With governments meeting in Bonn this week to try to ratchet up ambitions in United Nations climate negotiations, the team’s findings, published on 10 June in Geophysical Research Letters, offered a further sign of a growing climate emergency.
The paper was based on data Romanovsky and his colleagues had been analysing since their last expedition to the area in 2016. The team used a modified propeller plane to visit exceptionally remote sites, including an abandoned cold war-era radar base more than 300km from the nearest human settlement.
Diving through a lucky break in the clouds, Romanovsky and his colleagues said they were confronted with a landscape that was unrecognisable from the pristine Arctic terrain they had encountered during initial visits a decade or so earlier.
This page is in development. Book review excerpts on this page retain their original copyrights and are presented here under the “Fair Use” practice in copyright law.