Thursday 30 April 2020

14 ways to turn your coronavirus cabin fever into climate action: Grist

In these times of unprecedented uncertainty, my to-do list helps me stay sane.

It doesn’t matter that I have no places to go or people to see. With COVID-19 tossing normal life down the drain the world over, the shred of normalcy helps me stave off apathy, paralysis, and my sudden aversion to wearing proper pants.

I’m not the only one desperate for a little structure in my life in the age of social distancing and sheltering in place. Many of us who are fortunate enough to stay home during this crisis have been busy establishing work-life boundaries, maintaining an exercise routine, and staying in touch with loved ones. While these are all great ways to break up the monotony of sheltering in place, it’s also possible to pencil climate action into your newfound daily routine.
To get started, Grist put together a to-do list of daily climate-related activities that are compatible with social distancing for two weeks straight.

Day 1: Stock up — thoughtfully. Before you speed out to the store and panic-buy everything in sight, stop and take inventory. Check out everything you already own, notice what should be consumed soon, and write down what you really need. Bulk beans, lentils, and grains are solid options: They’ll stay good for ages, are healthy and versatile, and are climate-friendly foods. And having a consolidated, well-planned list and an organized fridge will prevent food waste — a major contributor to climate change — and save you unnecessary trips to the store. You can even take a first step towards growing some of your own food by buying an herb to grow on your windowsill — mint, sage, oregano, parsley, and rosemary are all pretty hard to kill. (Before you finalize your shopping list, check out the action items for Days 2, 5, and 10.)

Day 2: Power strips to the rescue. Now that you’re working from home (alongside a partner, perhaps, or kids home from school), consolidate your outlets and save electricity by plugging your chargers into power strips that can be switched off when you don’t need them. Ditto if you have a toaster, coffee machine, and electric kettle all plugged in on the kitchen counter. If you don’t own power strips, add them to your list for Day 1 — lots of essential stores sell them. It’s easy to forget about all the appliances we leave plugged in to suck up power like vampires, but now that you aren’t rushing off to work, it’s easy to stop wasting power.

Day 3: Junk mail begone! By your third day indoors, it’s probably become apparent just how much junk mail piles up when left to its own devices. Why companies still send snail mail advertisements addressed to “Current Resident” is beyond me, but asking to be taken off their lists will save paper, energy, and your time. The website Catalog Choice makes it easy to get off the mailing lists of businesses that just won’t leave you alone. Now’s also a good time to switch all your monthly bills and medical statements to online only if you haven’t already.

Read the original Grist article

The world is on lockdown. So where are all the carbon emissions coming from?: GRIST

' “I think the main issue is that people focus way, way too much on people’s personal footprints, and whether they fly or not, without really dealing with the structural things that really cause carbon dioxide levels to go up,” said Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist and the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City.

Transportation makes up a little over 20 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. (In the United States, it makes up around 28 percent.) That’s a significant chunk, but it also means that even if all travel were completely carbon-free (imagine a renewable-powered, electrified train system, combined with personal EVs and battery-powered airplanes), there’d still be another 80 percent of fossil fuel emissions billowing into the skies.

So where are all those emissions coming from? For one thing, utilities are still generating roughly the same amount of electricity — even if more of it’s going to houses instead of workplaces. Electricity and heating combined account for over 40 percent of global emissions. Many people around the world rely on wood, coal, and natural gas to keep their homes warm and cook their food — and in most places, electricity isn’t so green either." '

Read the original GRIST article

Saturday 25 April 2020

Planet Of The Humans Comes This Close To Actually Getting The Real Problem, Then Goes Full Ecofascism: Gizmodo

Michael Moore is a dude known for provocation. Every documentary he drops is designed to paint a world of sharp contrasts with clear bad guys. They’re designed to get a reaction and get people talking, so in some ways, him dropping a documentary he executive produced trashing renewable energy on Earth Day makes total sense. 

Planet of the Humans is directed and narrated by Jeff Gibbs, a self-proclaimed “photographer, campaigner, adventurer, and storyteller” who has co-produced some of Moore’s films. The documentary came out on Earth Day, positioning itself up as some tough, real talk not just about renewable energy but environmental groups. 

And by real talk, I mean it cast renewables as no better than fossil fuels and environmental groups as sleek corporate outfits in bed with billionaires helping kill the planet. As Emily Atkin put it in her HEATED newsletter on Thursday, “[e]ntertaining good-faith arguments about how to stop climate change is my job, and I have no reason at present to believe Moore and director Jeff Gibbs argued in bad faith.” Indeed. So I decided to listen to what they had to say.

I’ll leave the film criticism to those wiser than me (though I will say I feel like I didn’t watch three acts but three separate movies), but I will say this: The movie—which is available for free on YouTube and is currently on the service’s trending list with 1 million views in 24 hours—is deeply flawed in both its premise, proposed solutions, and who gets to voice them.

The movie’s central thesis is that we are on the brink of extinction and have been sold a damaged bill of goods about all forms of renewable energy by environmental groups motivated by profit. Essentially, the argument is we’re all dirty and the stain will never come out no matter how hard we try.

There are a few issues at play. One is that much of the issues the film takes with solar and wind are based on anachronistic viewpoints. PV Magazine, a solar trade publication, notes that it’s “difficult to take the film seriously on any topic when it botches the solar portion so thoroughly. Although the film was released in 2020, the solar industry it examines, whether through incompetence or venality, is from somewhere back in 2009.”

The film also goes through great lengths to throw solar and wind in the same boat as burning biomass for power. The latter relies on serious carbon accounting bullshittery to be carbon neutral. A critique of biomass is fair and something I would honestly have watched a whole film about. And ditto for the film’s critique of large environmental organisations, which rely on large funders that may provide money with strings attached (though Bill McKibben, one of the film’s targets and founder of, came out strongly critiquing how he and the organisation were portrayed). 

The film, for example, highlights the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, which has helped shutter more than 300 coal plants around the U.S. The program’s biggest donor is Mike Bloomberg, who sees natural gas—which has replaced much of that coal capacity—as a bridge fuel (which it is decidedly not).

And this is where the narrative Gibbs tells and the one we need to be telling diverges. Gibbs is happy to trash the unholy alliance between big green groups and big dollar funders who have, in some cases, made their fortunes on extractive industries and the system that relies on their existence. That can lead to conflicts—real or perceived—about how green groups spend their time. And frankly, I’m there with him.

Gibbs’ uses this situation to take the leap to population control as the only solution. Yes, renewables are bad and so are billionaires and the corporate-philanthropic industrial complex so, Gibbs concludes, we should probably get rid of some humans ASAP. Over the course of the movie, he interviews a cast of mostly white experts who are mostly men to make that case. It’s got a bit more than a whiff of eugenics and ecofascism, which is a completely bonkers takeaway from everything presented. If renewables are so bad, then what does a few million less people on the planet going to do? Oh, and who are we going to knock off or control for? Who decides? How does population control even solve the problem of corporate influence on nonprofits and politics? 

Those questions lead to a dark place. We’ve already had a glimpse of what that ideology looks like in the hands of individuals. The alleged manifesto penned by last year’s El Paso shooting suspect sounds an awful lot like Gibbs’ movie, arguing that extractive companies “are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly overharvesting resources” and that we to “get rid of enough people” to get things back in balance. Which is a whole lot of nope. 

I don’t mean to say Gibbs is therefor an ecofascist. But to see an ostensibly serious environmental movie backed by an influential filmmaker peddle these ideas is genuinely disturbing, especially at a time when we’re seeing it pop up elsewhere in response to the coronavirus. Also side note that it’s also incredibly myopic that Gibbs goes after environmental nonprofits for taking corporate money while ignoring the Sierra Club’s and other early conservation group’s history of support for racist ideas about population control he nods to as a solution (it should be noted some groups are trying to make up for past misdeeds today). 

What’s most frustrating about Gibbs’ film is he walks right up to some serious issues and ignores clear solutions. The critique of the compromised corporate philanthropy model is legit. We should absolutely hold nonprofits to account when they don’t live up to their missions. But the solution isn’t to take the leap to population control. It’s to tax the rich so they can’t use philanthropic funding as cover for their misdeeds while simultaneously filling government coffers to implement democratic solutions. 

There’s a reason that Breitbart and other conservative voices aligned with climate denial and fossil fuel companies have taken a shine to the film. It’s because it ignores the solution of holding power to account and sounds like a racist dog whistle. 

We also should absolutely interrogate the systems and supply chains of renewable energy. The lithium industry’s violent toll on land and people in Latin American countries with vast reserves is real. Letting corporations run the show promises to lead to future violence, regardless of how many people live on Earth. The film doesn’t interview any of the new wave of environmental leaders who see the fight against these injustices and the climate crisis as intrinsically linked. It’s too bad since that’s a message Gibbs—and the rest of the world—need to hear now more than ever.

Original article 

"A Contrary Opinion by environmentlists:

But prominent environmentalist Bill McKibben, who was criticized in the film, issued this response to the movie:
I am used to ceaseless harassment and attack from the fossil fuel industry, and I’ve done my best to ignore a lifetime of death threats from right-wing extremists. It does hurt more to be attacked by others who think of themselves as environmentalists.
Josh Fox, the director of Gasland, led a campaign to have the film taken down and for Michael Moore to issue an apology:
Two days later, Fox said that the film’s distributor agreed to take it down. But the direct-to-YouTube video remains online, now clocking more than 1.5 million views.

From electrek

No green new deal for Australia as Coalition tightens embrace of fossil fuels: Renew Economy

The full economic impact of the Covid-19 is still yet unknown, but it is clear that world’s governments face a choice in their response: 
Do they look to protect industries in terminal decline, or do they look to the long-term, supporting new green industries to flourish in a post-Covid-19 future?

A growing number of experts and global leaders have joined calls for the response to Covid-19 to be a ‘green response’, including the implementation of a ‘Green New Deal’ for a sustainable economy popularised by US Democrats.

The Green New Deal provides a vision for a sustainable future economy, and integrates proposals for ambitious climate action, investment in clean energy, a circular economy and includes a boost to direct public sector investment in sustainable infrastructure, including electric vehicles and public transport systems.

Unfortunately for Australia it is becoming increasingly clear that the Morrison government is steadfast in giving life support to the fossil fuel industry, clearly indication its preference for short-term opportunities for fossil fuel interests, and its ministers have been clearly working  reinforce the position of the oil, gas and coal sectors.

Resources minister Keith Pitt has gone in to bat for the gas and coal sectors, while energy minister Angus Taylor is working to prop up demand for oil and relaxing already weak regulations on the oil sector, including fuel standards.

This includes the Morrison government gifting almost $100 million to the United States to purchase oil that will remain stored in the United State’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

On Wednesday, Taylor announced that the government would also be looking to soften fuel standards to allow the industry to redeploy stockpiled aviation fuels for use in other parts of the transport sector. Australia already has weak fuel standards by most international standards, and a further weakening of the standards will likely lead to worse environmental and health outcomes.

Pitt made the government’s priorities even clearer, welcoming the expansion of Australia’s gas sector with Arrow Energy’s commitment to a new gas project in Queensland. “Notwithstanding COVID-19, our energy and resources will be important in getting not just our economy back on its feet, but vital in assisting our important trading partners to kickstart their economies,” Pitt said.

“The Australian Government is committed to working with the oil and gas industry in order to provide support and flexibility given the changing circumstances at this time.

At the same time, Taylor – who doubles as emissions reduction minister –  has praised the electricity and gas sectors for overseeing significant falls in domestic prices. But he studiously avoided any mention of the ongoing significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the grid, or the prominent role played in that by investment in wind and solar.

Despite Covid-19, the threat of climate change has not subsided and the need to transition the global energy system to one with significantly less greenhouse gas emissions will remain a pressing global issue during and after the world has dealt with the pandemic. And studies show that acting on climate change will deliver substantial economic benefits for those who embrace it.

The International Renewable Energy Agency this week published new analysis that shows ambitious investment in the clean energy sector would provide substantial benefits to the global community, boosting global economic output by as much as A$160 trillion by 2050 above a ‘business as usual’ scenario.

This included the potential to create almost 250,000 new jobs in Oceania’s renewable energy sector by 2050, with growth more than compensating for inevitable job losses in the fossil fuel sector.
A global poll conducted by Ipsos in April found that 71 per cent of adults globally still view climate change as serious a long-term crisis as Covid-19. The figure was lower in Australia, with 59 per cent agreeing with the proposition locally.

“Despite the environment taking a back seat compared with other current issues, it’s still important to people. There is strong support among the public for a green economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis,” Ipsos Australia public affairs director, Jennifer Brook, said.

While it still sees a majority of Australians ranking the climate change response as equal importance with Covid-19, the Morrison government will likely see the weaker response as an opportunity to put climate action event further on the backburner.

Bruce Robertson from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis told RenewEconomy that moves to prop up ailing parts of the fossil fuel sector were a mistake.

“While governments say they are not supposed to be picking winners, they are certainly not supposed to be picking losers,” Robertson said.

“Globally since the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a permanent shift down in demand – and the world is swimming in gas and oil. How will this investment get us out of the hole? It is not a governments role to pick winners. It is definitely not a governments role to pick proven losing industries to shower tax payer dollars on.”

“The government is making big decisions about our future right now. We need a new normal, not going back to the old ways of a reliance on emissions-intensive gas, which is both a fossil fuel and a loss-making industry. Gas is not the industry of the future. We have the choice now. We can do things differently going forward,” Robertson added.

With a long-term view, strategic investments in the green infrastructure required for the long term offers the best possible economic response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The government can do this by heeding the calls of the clean energy sector to include investment and support for new zero-emissions generation and energy efficiency in stimulus measures.

Doing so will not only provide a powerful form of short-term economic stimulus, but will also leave Australia better placed in the long-term, well after the crisis of Covid-19 as been resolved.

Original article

RenewEconomy and the Smart Energy Council will be co-hosting a “virtual conference” on May 6, focusing on a renewables-led economic recovery, featuring industry leaders, analysts and advocates. More information and registration here.

RenewEconomy and its sister sites One Step Off The Grid and The Driven will continue to publish throughout the Covid-19 crisis, posting good news about technology and project development, and holding government, regulators and business to account. But as the conference market evaporates, and some advertisers pull in their budgets, readers can help by making a voluntary donation here to help ensure we can continue to offer the service free of charge and to as wide an audience as possible. Thankyou for your support.

Michael Mazengarb is a journalist with RenewEconomy, based in Sydney. Before joining RenewEconomy, Michael worked in the renewable energy sector for more than a decade.

Friday 24 April 2020

The Covid-19 crisis creates a chance to reset economies on a sustainable footing : The Guardian

New Zealand climate minister says governments must not just return to the way things were, and instead plot a new course to ease climate change

James Shaw, New Zealand’s climate change minister, has asked the country’s independent climate change commission to check whether its emissions targets under the Paris agreement are enough to limit global heating to 1.5C. He explains why he’s prioritising the issue during a strict national lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19, which could send New Zealand’s unemployment rate soaring.

To say that we find ourselves in an unprecedented moment is so obvious and has been so often repeated it’s almost become white noise. What is less obvious, however, is where we go from here.

In any significant crisis, let alone one as catastrophic as the Covid-19 pandemic, it is an entirely understandable human reflex to want things to “return to normal”, to “go back to the way they were before”.

And, when faced with economic headwinds – in recent decades, the Asian financial crisis, the global financial crisis and, in our own case, the Christchurch earthquakes) successive governments the world over have directed their efforts to meeting public expectation and getting back to business as usual.

Unfortunately, one of the features of business as usual was a highly polluting and ecologically unsustainable economy on a pathway that was locking in catastrophic climate change.

Successive responses to economic crises have seen climate change and the natural environment we depend on for life on Earth as a nice-to-have, something to think about once we’ve got the economy back on track and there’s a bit more money to go round.

Read the complete The Guardian article

Monday 20 April 2020

South Korea to implement Green New Deal after ruling party election win: Climate Home News

Seoul is to set a 2050 net zero emissions goal and end coal financing, after the Democratic Party’s landslide victory in one of the world’s first Covid-19 elections 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's landslide victory in the country's parliamentary election gives his party a clear mandate to implement its Green New Deal (Photo: Republic of Korea/Jeon Han/Flickr)

South Korea is on track to set a 2050 carbon neutrality goal and end coal financing after its ruling Democratic Party won an absolute majority in the country’s parliamentary elections on Wednesday.

President Moon Jae-in’s party won a landslide 180 seats in the 300-member National Assembly, up from 120 previously, in a huge show of faith in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Democratic Party’s decisive victory will enable President Moon to press ahead with its newly adopted Green New Deal agenda during the last two years of his mandate.

Under the plan, South Korea has become the first country in East Asia to pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

As part of the Paris Agreement, countries have agreed to submit updated climate plans to 2030 and long-term decarbonisation strategies to the UN before the end of the year.
Analysis: Which countries have a net zero carbon goal?
In its climate manifesto published last month, the Democratic Party promised to pass a “Green New Deal” law that would steer the country’s transformation into a low-carbon economy.

Read the original complete article

Friday 17 April 2020

Coronavirus doubters follow climate denial playbook: Yale Climate Connections

Whether denying coronavirus or climate change, many deploy the same unfounded strategies and messages.


For the climate community, observing U.S. national political leaders’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic has been like watching the climate crisis unfold on fast-forward. Many – particularly on the political right – have progressed through the same five stages of science denial in the face of both threats.

For climate change, the denial process began decades ago. NASA climate scientist

James Hansen testified to Congress in 1988 about the dangers posed by global warming; the fossil fuel industry formed the Global Climate Coalition the very next year to launch a campaign casting doubt on mainstream climate science. In November 1989, President George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff, climate denier John Sununu, sabotaged efforts to develop the first international climate change treaty. Exxon in particular spent the following decades and tens of millions of dollars funding a network of think tanks to propagate climate science denial. In a memo leaked in 2003, Republican strategist Frank Luntz advised G.O.P. politicians, “You need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.”

The same denial process has unfolded with coronavirus, but over a far more compressed time frame. In both crises, early warnings from scientific experts went unheeded and were often discouraged or suppressed. As a result, the American government began responding only after each threat’s impacts had become widespread and undeniable. At that point, due to the missed opportunity to prevent the outbreak of impacts, much of the response came in the form of damage control. America’s efforts to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus cases, like its efforts to bend the carbon emissions curve, were deployed too slowly.

The five stages of denial

In 2013, as the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was due to be released, the five stages of climate denial were on display in many conservative media outlets. Watching the reactions to the unfolding coronavirus crisis in early 2020 created a sense of déjà vu, as many leaders exhibited the same stages of denial. In fact, many of the same actors who deny the climate crisis also were (or still are) denying coronavirus threats. Some observers have remarked that the Venn diagram of coronavirus and climate deniers is nearly a circle.

Stage 1: Deny the problem exists. This is denial at its most basic, as there is no need to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. If the issue is a hoax, as the president repeatedly has asserted about both global warming and coronavirus, the status quo can be maintained. But denying a problem doesn’t change its physical or epidemiological properties, so in the face of real scientifically quantified threats, Stage 1 denial cannot last very long.

Stage 2: Deny responsibility. Upon accepting the threat posed by coronavirus outbreaks, numerous conservative politicians and pundits have tried to shift the blame to China, with many including the president labeling it “the Chinese virus,” echoed over 100 times on Fox News. Similarly, after accepting that climate change is happening, many have tried to blame it on natural cycles, or, if they accept humanity’s responsibility, to likewise blame it on China. But here again denial falls short; shifting blame does not slow a physical or viral crisis.

Stage 3: Downplay the threat. President Trump spent weeks downplaying the threat of coronavirus, early maintaining that it had only infected one person in America, that “one day like a miracle it will disappear,” that “within a couple of days [the number of infected Americans] is going to be down to close to zero,” and so on. Fox News and other conservative media outlets followed his lead in downplaying the risks. Similarly, Trump has said the climate “will change back,” and conservative media outlets have spent decades arguing that climate change is no big deal. Yet, as the devastation of coronavirus and climate change impacts has become a reality, doubters have been increasingly forced to move beyond Stage 3 denial.

Stage 4: Attack the solutions as too costly. Trump has claimed that coronavirus curve-flattening measures recommended by experts – like long-term social distancing – are too costly. He instead suggested preemptively loosening social distancing measures to reopen the national economy “sooner rather than later” (an approach Fox News has also championed), as well as various unproven drug treatments, with Fox News again following suit. A number of ideologues have argued that older Americans would rather die than cause the economic disruption associated with extended social distancing. Some partisan policymakers and pundits similarly oppose virtually all large-scale climate solutions as too expensive, instead proposing worthwhile but inadequate steps like simply planting trees or capturing carbon from power plants to inexplicably use for extracting yet more fossil fuels.

Stage 5: It’s too late. Some have proposed, once it became obvious that the coronavirus outbreak had become widespread, that governments should just maintain the status quo, try to build herd immunity, and cope with the consequences (such as overwhelmed health care systems that could result in millions of deaths). Climate justice essayist Mary Heglar coined the term “de-nihilist” to describe those who have similarly succumbed to the fear that it’s too late to stop climate change. Such attitudes only hamper efforts to constructively address both problems.

Coronavirus is a learning opportunity for climate change

Because American leadership proceeded through these stages of denial, it wasted valuable months that could have been spent preparing for and curbing the spread of coronavirus. For comparison, South Korea diagnosed its first case of COVID-19 on January 20 – the same day as the U.S. – but almost immediately launched an aggressive program of testing, tracing, and quarantining.

By March, South Korea was conducting over 10,000 coronavirus tests per day, and its new cases fell below 150 per day by mid-March. Despite a population six times larger, the U.S. had reached the threshold of 10,000 new tests per day only on March 16, and has consistently lagged in testing on a per capita basis. As testing in the U.S. finally began to catch up to the viral spread, the number of new coronavirus cases in America accelerated past 10,000 per day by March 23, reaching 580,000, by April 14 compared to 10,564 South Korean cases (222 deaths) as of that date.

After this late start, Trump has regularly argued that the U.S. “cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.” Those who oppose climate solutions similarly argue that making investments to bend the carbon emissions curve would be worse than the consequences of climate change – consequences that include increased food insecurity; intensified hurricanes, wildfires, heatwaves, droughts, and floods; and more species extinctions, violent conflicts, and death.

Both arguments run counter to expert advice, misunderstand the problem, and present a false choice. In reality, failing to make the necessary early investments to head off each threat will result in economy-crippling consequences, whether in the form of overwhelmed health care systems in the case of coronavirus or more deadly extreme weather events in the case of climate change.
Experts agree that to protect both the economy and public health, government responses must focus on flattening the coronavirus curve and making investments to rapidly curb carbon pollution. In fact, a new study on the 1918 flu pandemic found that measures like social distancing “not only lower mortality, they also mitigate the adverse economic consequences of a pandemic.” Nipping the problem quickly and aggressively yields the best outcome for both the economy and public health. Put simply, suffering and death are costly.

Observing the damage resulting from denial of both the coronavirus and climate crises raises the question, how did humans evolve this apparent psychological flaw? Physician-scientist Ajit Varki has hypothesized that comprehending one’s own mortality is a psychological evolutionary barrier for most species, because this realization would amplify the fear of death and thus “would have then reduced the reproductive fitness of such isolated individuals.” 
 Varki posits that humans may have overcome this barrier by developing denial as a coping mechanism, but that “If this theory turns out to be the correct explanation for the origin of the species, it might ironically also be now sowing the seeds of our demise,” since denial now obstructs efforts to address threats like climate change and coronavirus.

WuhanWith climate and coronavirus, ‘the broad shape of the story is the same’

As climate activist and author Bill McKibben put it, “You can’t negotiate with physics and chemistry, you can’t compromise with them or spin them away … coronavirus is teaching us precisely this lesson about biology as well. Reality is real and sometimes it bites pretty hard.” Or, as Republican pollster Neil Newhouse said more bluntly, “Denial is not likely to be a successful strategy for survival.”

But because of its compressed time frame, coronavirus has provided humanity an opportunity to learn this lesson and apply it to curbing the worst of the climate crisis. Contrary to Stage 5 denial, it’s not yet too late to avoid the most severe climate change impacts.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

From Yale Climate Connections

Thursday 16 April 2020

The world's top climate negotiator is feeling optimistic. She says you should too: CNN

(CNN)At first glance, Christiana Figueres doesn't have that many reasons to be optimistic.The Costa Rican diplomat played a pivotal role in negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. But while the deal was widely praised as a landmark achievement, it has since begun to crumble. 
The United States left the pact under President Donald Trump, and negotiations over key aspects of the deal's implementation have repeatedly failed.
Yet Figueres says she still feels upbeat about fighting climate change.
"It's a deliberate choice," she told CNN in a video call. "This is not about subjecting ourselves to huge sacrifices that lead us to feeling that we're having a worse life, it's actually exactly the opposite," she said.
"This is about moving toward a much better life, a life that has better health conditions, that has better urban conditions, that has better transport conditions, that has safer investment conditions."
A slight woman with short hair, Figueres has the sort of no-nonsense attitude that's called for when the future of the world is at stake and it's up to you to find a solution. 
She took over as the UN's top climate official in 2010, following the failed Copenhagen climate summit in 2009. 
When the Paris Agreement was signed five years later, Figueres was widely credited with making it happen. She also made the radical decision to bring the private sector and NGOs into the negotiations.
The idea that fighting climate change will make people's lives better is a key theme in Figueres' upcoming book "The Future We Choose."
Figueres and the book's co-author Tom Rivett-Carnac, who were both speaking from the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the World Economic Forum in January, told CNN their "stubborn optimism" is inspired by changes they have witnessed first hand. 
"We are in a different world than we were two years ago, the level of civil disobedience that has emerged all around the world, we haven't seen for a generation, it's incredibly positive," Rivett-Carnac said. 
The problem, she said, is that there isn't much time to take this control: A decade, at best. 
"Ten years from now, in 2030, we will either have written a very positive story, or we will really be condemned to an endless destruction. So for these 10 years we're holding the pen," Figueres said.

Wednesday 15 April 2020

The Guardian view on the climate and coronavirus: global warnings

Steep falls in emissions have been the pandemic’s immediate effect. But what’s needed is a green recovery

So far, discussions of a coronavirus exit strategy have mainly focused on the steps that could bring an end to the lockdown. In the short term, both in the UK and elsewhere, there is nothing more desirable than letting people resume their lives, once it is safe to do so.

But the speed of the “return to normal” is not the only thing that matters. The manner in which the world’s leaders manage the colossal economic and political shocks caused by the virus is also of the utmost importance. And at the top of their list of priorities, alongside human welfare, must be the biosphere and its future.

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Sorry to disappoint climate deniers, but coronavirus makes the low-carbon transition more urgent: The Conversation

"Deniers argue that further disruption to economies and societies will be avoided at all costs. 

Sorry to be the harbinger of denier disappointment, but there is every reason to expect that the virus crisis will strengthen and accelerate the imperative to transition to a low-carbon world by mid-century."


"Time is of the essence

As Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, states in her recent book:
“We are in the critical decade. It is no exaggeration to say that what we do regarding emissions reductions between now and 2030 will determine the quality of human life on this planet for hundreds of years to come, if not more.”
This will require about a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 – way more than is contemplated in the Paris agreement – to achieve even net zero emissions by 2050.

Read more: Coronavirus is a wake-up call: our war with the environment is leading to pandemics

There are a few “pluses” from the experience of coronavirus. Emissions are falling (although clearly no one would advocate a global recession as a climate strategy). And the response of governments to the crisis has seen decisive domestic action – working individually, but together, in meeting what is a global challenge.

Individual governments have demonstrated how quickly they can move once they accept the reality of a crisis. We’ve also seen just how far they’re prepared to go in terms of policy responses – lockdowns, social distancing, testing, rapid and historically significant fiscal expansions, and massive liquidity injections.

It’s noteworthy that issues that in “normal times” could not have been ignored – such as civil liberties and concerns about intrusive governments and effective competition – have so easily been set aside as part of emergency responses."

Read The complete The Conversation story 

#jail climate criminals