Global warming news

Governments keep global climate deal on track despite U.S. pullout

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Almost 200 nations kept a 2015 global agreement to tackle climate change on track on Saturday after marathon talks overshadowed by U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out.
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True climate leadership still missing

The world is moving ahead without Trump - but not as fast and decisively as needed.

Another round of climate negotiations is over. And, like last year, President Trump has failed to stop the global climate talks from moving forward. Indeed, his announcement to withdraw from the Paris Agreement has brought even louder and clearer voices for climate leadership from the United States to Bonn. Civil society, cities, governors and some businesses have shown the true face of America here, exposing how Trump and his regressive fossil fuel agenda does not stand for the majority of Americans. America is still in - and Americans are rising up for climate action.

We have also seen some positive announcements in recent days: a new alliance pledging to phase out coal was formed; Europe's biggest coal port, Rotterdam, decided to phase out coal to deliver on the Paris Agreement and the Pacific Island Development Forum nations signed on to the Lofoten Declaration, that calls for a just transition - a managed phase out of fossil fuels. We have also seen the largest wealth fund in the world announcing that they want to divest from oil and gas.  

Overall, though, there has been too much talk and not enough action. France, Germany and China have claimed to be leaders here - but Chancellor Merkel embarrassed herself on the global stage when she failed to commit to a coal phase-out; French President Macron has put off the phase out of nuclear, which will slow down the urgently needed French energy revolution. And China, too, has seen emissions rise this year again after three years of coal consumption decline (though that may turn out to be a temporary blip).

In a year that has seen ever more devastating climate impacts, that is simply not good enough. This conference was led by Fiji - the first time a climate summit was led by a Pacific island nation. The Pacific has been dealing with the devastating impacts of climate change for years - and this meeting did not deliver as much hope and support to them as would have been warranted and just.

One of my highlights of the last two weeks has been watching our Fijian volunteers, Alisi Nacewa and Samu Kuridrani, interview people about climate change - and these, at times crazy, negotiations. I encourage you to watch their Kava Chats. It's for the home of people like Alisi and Samu that we are fighting for.

We will not win against dangerous climate change unless we work together across sectors and movements. This week, we held a joint event with the International Trade Union Confederation, discussing how we can unite to advance a just transition - and make climate action work for workers and the planet alike. We also brought together activists from climate impacted communities with National Human Rights institutions. We hope that many of them will follow the example of the Philippine Human Rights Commission, that is investigating the human rights impacts of 47 carbon producers, including ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, and Total.

There is an encouraging wave of legal action against polluters. This week a German court accepted a case brought by a Peruvian farmer against energy giant RWE. RWE, he argues, must share in the cost of protecting his hometown Huaraz from a swollen glacier lake at risk of overflowing from melting snow and ice. And our legal colleagues have been in a courtroom in Norway making the case that additional oil drilling in the Arctic not only undermines the Paris Agreement but actually undermines the Norwegian constitution. Add your name to this case of The People vs Arctic Oil here.

We will hold polluters accountable for their impacts. We will continue to push for quicker climate action so that even more devastation is prevented. The world is moving ahead. But we are in a race against time. And we need governments and corporations to move faster than we have seen them doing over the last two weeks here in Bonn.

Daniel Mittler is the Political Director of Greenpeace International


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If We Act Now on Climate Change, the Economic Reward Will Be Immense

If We Act Now on Climate Change, the Economic Reward Will Be Immense Comments|Add Comment|PrintA new climate economy is blooming. Flickr/Trey Ratcliff. This article was originally posted at The Guardian. Climate negotiators are meeting in Bonn. Beyond the intricacies of the negotiations, here is one key thing to remember instead: about $1tn is already being invested in climate solutions, ranging from renewables and energy efficiency to public transport. To put it simply: for those that act...

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China fills part of U.S. void on climate without dominating talks

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - China has filled some of the void on climate change leadership left by U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to quit the 2015 Paris climate pact by curbing its own greenhouse emissions and it has done so without seeking to dominate the talks, delegates said.
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Nations keep global climate deal on track despite U.S. pullout

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Nearly 200 nations made progress toward keeping a landmark 2015 global deal to tackle climate change on track at United Nations talks ending on Friday despite a U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw.
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COP23 puts a strong focus on ambition, even as countries defer immediate action

BONN, 17 November 2017 – As the UN climate talks end later today, WWF recognizes the progress made on laying the groundwork for increasing climate ambition up to 2020 and beyond, but notes that 2018 will be key for countries to clearly signal their intention to step up and enhance their climate plans. In the hours remaining, WWF urges parties to resolve the issues still pending.

A year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, negotiations over the past two weeks have seen countries come to agreement on critical issues of pre-2020 action and support, and the role of gender, local communities and Indigenous Peoples in climate action. However, much remains to be done to ensure we seize the small window of opportunity we have to achieve the objectives of this landmark climate accord. Governments must strengthen urgent action, finalize the Paris Agreement rulebook and decide collectively to review and strengthen ambition of post-2020 climate commitments urgently. 

"From the onset, the paradoxes at this COP have been many. Negotiators have gathered in Bonn under a Fiji Presidency and, as states deliberate on future action, cities, regions, businesses and communities have stepped up their efforts toward achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. We also saw that despite the momentum seen in the corridors in Bonn, domestically countries are still falling behind" said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, head of WWF's global climate and energy programme. "In a year marked by extreme weather disasters and potentially the first increase in carbon emissions in four years, the paradox between what we are doing and need to be delivering is clear: countries must act with greater climate ambition, and soon, to put us on a path to a 1.5°C future."

By raising the profile of pre-2020 action in the UNFCCC process, and agreeing on the design of a process to review and increase ambition through the Talanoa Dialogue, COP23 has provided important building blocks to move the spirit of the Paris Agreement forward. But success is far from guaranteed. The Polish presidency must complement, and aim to bolster, Fiji's efforts to accelerate progress towards finalizing the Rulebook that will guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement and ensure scaled up, predictable finance for developing countries, including for loss and damage.

"Two years ago, countries around the world were entrusted with an important mandate in Paris. Today, they are making progress but with the impacts of climate change accelerating, the pace and scale of the response is still insufficient. It is time to show bolder vision, innovation, and urgent action - domestically and on the international front - and build on the clear momentum we are seeing in our societies and economies already. We look to Poland to continue Fiji's legacy to translate the ambition and vision of the Paris Agreement into reality," added Pulgar-Vidal.

Countries are not the only ones taking action. Through the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, efforts underway by states and non-State actors - including cities, regions, business, investors, and civil society - to galvanize climate action were in the spotlight at COP23 in Bonn. The WWF 'PandaHub' Pavilion hosted a full programme of dialogues and events to showcase the value of collaboration and innovation to create a sustainable, resilient future for all.

In addition, the U.S. Climate Action Center brought together over 100 prominent leaders from U.S. state and local governments, private sector and academia showing the U.S.' commitment to remaining a global frontrunner in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. WWF is one of many organizations supporting the new generation of climate leaders who comprise the "We Are Still In"  movement, the largest U.S. coalition ever assembled in support of climate action. "Never before has a coalition of American business, state and local leaders come together under a common banner to drive climate action," said Lou Leonard, WWF's senior vice president of climate change and energy.  "By working together, they can ensure that the United States meets its commitment under the Paris Agreement while creating new jobs and creating a safer future for communities in America and around the world."

The 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UNFCCC will take place from 3-14 December 2018, in Katowice, Poland.

---ends---

For further information:
Rucha Naware, WWF International, rnaware@wwfint.org; +447393776573
 
About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
 
panda.org/news for latest news and media resources
 

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Trump adviser says past U.S. emissions a 'distraction' in fixing climate

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Many nations' view that the United States should do more to fight climate change because it is the biggest historical emitter is a "distraction" from technological innovation, an adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday.
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ASEAN Countries Must Act Together to Confront Climate Change

ASEAN Countries Must Act Together to Confront Climate Change Comments|Add Comment|PrintClimate mitigation will require energy transitions in ASEAN nations. Photo by Wikimedia Nine out of ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have ratified the Paris Agreement, and Myanmar is expected to do so in the near future. While each country has its own, individual Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), collaboration among these countries will be essential to achieve NDC...

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Nineteen nations say they'll use more bioenergy to slow climate change

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - China and 18 other nations representing half the world's population said on Thursday they planned to increase the use of wood and other plant matter from sustainable sources to generate energy as part of efforts to limit climate change.
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Climate change denial or indifference are 'perverse attitudes': pope

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Denying climate change or being indifferent to its effects are "perverse attitudes" that block research and dialogue aimed at protecting the future of the planet, Pope Francis said on Thursday.
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U.S. biofuels policy contributes to global warming: study

(Reuters) - U.S. renewable fuel mandates are contributing to global warming, boosting carbon emissions as farmers turn carbon-rich areas like wetlands and forests into cropland to grow corn, soy and wheat for biofuels production, a study presented on Wednesday said.
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Syria formally joins Paris climate agreement: U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Syria has formally jointed the 2015 Paris deal aimed at slowing climate change, the United Nations said on Tuesday, leaving the United States as the only country opposed to the pact.
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Germany, Britain inject $153 million in Amazon climate change fight

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Germany and Britain will provide a combined $153 million to expand programs to fight climate change and deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, according to a statement from the Brazilian government on Tuesday.
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A focus on gender at the UN climate talks

Each year at the UN climate talks, gender becomes a central thematic element in the negotiations. Today is that day, six years after the first Gender Day was incorporated into the UNFCCC.

Since then, every year, COPs have not only scheduled thematic days around agriculture and food security, cities, energy, forests, oceans, etc. but also dedicate a day to numerous events, special activities and initiatives focused on integrating the gender perspective in climate negotiations.

 Greenpeace activists at the climate march in Bonn, 4 November 2017 

But what is the gender approach? Gender is the social role assigned to men and women simply for being that: male or female. This leads to serious inequalities and can stall fair and peaceful progress.

By taking into account gender issues, we seek to address inequalities, shed light on them and try to advance solutions to a whole range of problems.

According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations):

 “The impact of environmental degradation is gender-differentiated in terms of workloads and the quality of life; gender disparities in natural resource management and participation in policy-making must be clearly understood.”

Taking gender into account allows us to understand the different vulnerabilities of both men and women. Like many other environmental and social problems, it is women who are the most vulnerable to climate change in many countries.

Ghalia Fayad, speaking on board the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior 4 Nov, 2016

Gender differences are also noticeable in consumer habits. For example, women are more likely to choose sustainable consumption such as eating less meat and have a greater openness to organic foods.

As stipulated in the Paris Agreement, during last year’s Marrakesh COP the parties adopted a series of decisions to improve how climate policy incorporates gender issues in all activities relating to adaptation, mitigation, as well as in decision-making on climate policy application.

Finally, on November 11 at COP23, the delegations of the UNFCCC adopted the Gender Action Plan. This should be approved this week in the COP plenary.

Greenpeace welcomes the inclusion of this approach in climate negotiations. We believe that in order to stop climate change we need an energy transition as well as fair and transformative policies that take into account the entire population.

Atmospheric CO2 levels are now at the highest level for the past 800,000 years. This is due to an industrial revolution characterised by a set of industrial, scientific and technological changes and developments that inevitably meant the design and implementation of the current economic model.

This is a model based on an intensive production system, the consumption of resources and dependence on fossil fuels to expand and develop, where tasks and jobs are based on the extraction and burning of coal, oil and gas, and where it is men who mainly hold the roles to achieve this production-based system.

The gender approach deals with these issues by analysing the division of labour, access to and control of resources and political participation in decision-making.

The fight against climate change, the move away from fossil fuels and the transition to an energy model based on 100% renewable energy is our chance to build a fair, peaceful and green future.

Greenpeace believes women are agents of change. If we want to advance more sustainable societies where health and wellbeing are a priority, it is essential to increase the number of women in decision-making positions and those taking part in climate and energy negotiations.

We, women and girls, make up 52% of the global population. There must be no negotiation of any kind that does not take into account half the population.

We are not a minority group, we are people with full rights. Although women are involved with climate and its protection on a daily basis, let's take advantage of Gender Day at the climate change talks to amplify our voice.

Tatiana Nuño is a climate campaigner with Greenpeace Spain and a member of the Spanish Gender Team


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Protesters disrupt U.S. pro-coal event at U.N. climate talks

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Protesters disrupted a pro-coal presentation by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration at climate change talks in Germany on Monday where almost 200 nations are trying to shift the world economy off fossil fuels.
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23 Terms to Know at COP23

23 Terms to Know at COP23 Comments|Add Comment|PrintWRI's Taryn Fransen speaks at a COP23 event. International climate change negotiations can be hard to follow. Scientific language like "radiative forcing" and "sulfur dioxide" sit alongside acronyms like UNFCCC, SDG and CMA. The Paris Agreement on climate change practically spawned its own language, with new terms like "facilitative dialogue" and "Global Stocktake." For the second year in a row, we're bringing you a cheat sheet to decrypting...

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German court gives initial backing to hear climate activist's suit against RWE

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German court on Monday gave its initial backing to hearing a lawsuit by a climate activist suing energy utility RWE for its role in causing climate change, in a test case other environmentalists will be watching closely.
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U.S. to promote 'universal access' to fossil fuels at climate talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States hopes to promote wider use of fossil fuels at a global meeting on climate change next week, a White House official said, reflecting the gaping divide between Washington and the rest of the world on the issue of global warming.
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Saudi Arabia says remains committed to climate accord

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia remains committed to the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, the energy minister for the world's top oil exporter said on Saturday.
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Merkel tries to bridge climate gap as coalition talks heat up

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany should lead the fight against climate change and cut emissions without destroying jobs, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, treading a fine line as she tries to clinch a coalition deal with environmentalist and pro-business parties.
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Merkel tries to bridge climate gap as coalition talks get serious

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday industrialized countries must increase their efforts to fight climate change and Germany should lead by example by showing that ambitious emission targets could be achieved without destroying jobs.
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Bhutan, WWF and partners announce deal to permanently secure Bhutan's extensive network of protected areas

THIMPHU, BHUTAN: The Royal Government of Bhutan, WWF, donors and partners from around the world today announced their commitment to create a USD $43 million fund—the first of its kind in Asia—to permanently protect Bhutan's network of protected areas.

This funding will be combined with USD $75 million from the Bhutan government, which will be contributed over a 14-year period, to support a new program called Bhutan for Life (BFL). The program, which is supported in part by a USD $26.6 million grant from the Green Climate Fund, will ensure that there is funding forever to properly manage Bhutan's protected areas—which constitute 51 percent of the country, the highest percentage of land designated as protected in Asia.

Proper management of the protected areas means the country's 2-million-hectare network of forests and rivers will be protected against poaching, illegal logging and other threats. Forests will be able to absorb carbon so Bhutan can maintain its commitment to being carbon neutral forever. Bhutan's rivers, which are part of a network of rivers that provide water for one-fifth of the world, will remain clean. The country's natural resources will support the livelihoods of much of the country's rural population, and help people be more resilient against the impacts of climate change. And iconic wildlife, such as Bengal tigers and Asian elephants, will be allowed to thrive in their natural habitat.

"It is in this protected areas network, and the wildlife corridors that connect them, that most of the country's treasured natural resources can be found," said Bhutan Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgay. "However, these natural resources are at risk, as the country is changing fast. To address the increasing threats to our pristine environment, Bhutan needs a solid new conservation-friendly business plan: one that will not just protect, but will help grow the initial capital Bhutan has put into its incredible conservation efforts; and one that will allow both conservation and economic development to occur in a balanced, sustainable way, in perpetuity. That plan is in the form of BFL."

"Our natural resources are our most important asset," said WWF Bhutan Country Representative Dechen Dorji. "They are the foundation for our livelihoods, spiritual connectivity, happiness and our commitment to being carbon neutral. The farsighted conservation vision of the our great monarchs and Royal Government of Bhutan's leadership in adopting an innovative solution that guarantees permanent protection as well as effective management of our protected areas secures Bhutan's future and will enable Bhutan to serve as a powerful model for the world."

Those who showed their commitment today to support BFL included representatives from the Philipp Family Foundation, the Bedari Foundation and PlowShare Group, who provided initial preparation funding alongside WWF in 2014. Also attending were representatives of the Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility and additional private donors. Most were in Bhutan today, at a ceremony graced by Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan. Earlier today, the Royal Government of Bhutan and WWF also signed a declaration of commitment for BFL, witnessed by donors and partners of BFL.
 
At the heart of this government of Bhutan and WWF-led initiative is a fund that will make annual payments, starting high and declining to zero over a projected period of 14 years. During this time, the government of Bhutan will gradually increase its funding to match the decline in donor funding. Thereafter, Bhutan will be positioned to fully fund all protected areas on its own. An independent board with representatives from the government of Bhutan, BFL donors and relevant experts will oversee the implementation of the BFL-funded activities for the next 14 years.
 
BFL uses an innovative financial approach called Project Finance for Permanence (PFP). The approach has been used by WWF, national governments and others in three countries. The largest PFP, ARPA for Life, resulted in a USD $215 million fund to permanently protect 150 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon.
 
WWF seeks to do additional PFPs around the world, using the Bhutan program and the other PFPs as models.
 
BFL donors include:
 Anonymous
Bedari Foundation
Bhutan Foundation
Jeffrey Boal : PlowShare Group, Inc.
Carmen Busquets
Tammy and Bill Crown
DT Families Foundation
Global Environment Facility
Green Climate Fund
Neville and Pamela Isdell
Michael and Diane Moxness
Nicolas Oltramare
Philipp Family Foundation
Anne Reece
Roger and Victoria Sant 
 
For more information, please contact:
Sonam Yangchen, Communications and Liaison Officer, Bhutan for Life, WWF Bhutan, syangchen@wwfbhutan.org.bt
 
About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit www.panda.org/news for the latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media.

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Fire and Rain

The year 2017 may become a historic milestone where the visceral effects of global heating - extreme storms and wildfires - finally reach public consciousness.

 Homeowners Access Hurricane Irma Damage - 12 Sep, 2017

Humans have known about the effects of carbon in the atmosphere for two centuries, since the work of Joseph Fourier at the French Academy of Science. A century ago, Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius, calculated that doubling atmospheric CO2 would increase Earth's average temperature by 5-6°C, which now appears accurate. In 1981, Dr. James Hansen wrote the first NASA global temperature analysis, and in 1991, the UN convened the first climate conference in Berlin. As of today, none of this has significantly altered the actions of human society enough to actually reduce carbon emissions.

In the last few years, we have witnessed more wildfires and violent storms that are directly linked to global heating. This year, communities around the world have experienced a dramatic increase in climate-related natural disasters, costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars, and leaving behind devastation. 

Year of the fire

I've lived on the west coast of Canada for 45 years, and during that time, I've witnessed a few days of smoke from wildfires in the interior fir and cedar forests. For the past two summers, however, the entire coast has been blanketed in thick smoke through July and August, the summer sun barely piercing the haze. Citizens experience respiratory problems, tourism is disrupted, and firefighting teams from the northern and southern hemispheres now routinely trade support teams in alternate seasons.

In February, the North Pole experienced a staggering +30°C temperature anomaly, unprecedented in modern record-keeping. The melting permafrost releases methane gas, a greenhouse-gas far more powerful than CO2. The Arctic contains about 1.8 trillion tons of carbon, stored as methane, and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has not yet accounted for this significant positive feedback of global heating. The 2017 data so far shows that over the last decade, Earth is heating about twice as fast as IPCC scientists had predicted.

Grass Fire in the Astrakhan Nature Reserve, Russia - 13 Mar, 2015

This extra heat means drier grasslands and forests, resulting in more frequent, more intense fires. Warmer temperatures add moisture to the atmosphere, which we might assume would dampen fires, but it has the opposite effect. Increased precipitation during the winter means that grasslands grow more. Then, during the drier summers, this extra growth becomes added fuel to the fires. Even a fraction of a degree increase to winter temperatures allows insects like pine beetles to move toward the poles, into boreal forests, killing more trees that also add fuel to fires.

During the summer of 2017, fires raged across Europe, killing hundreds, devastating communities, and leading the European Union to declare a state of emergency. Portugal suffered the worst fire season ever recorded, scorching almost 520,000 hectares of forest. It was six times the annual average for recent years, and killed over 100 people. The Interior Minister, Constanca Urbano de Sousa, remarked that she had wanted to quit after 64 people were killed in June wildfires and after investigators had chastised the official response. When October fires killed 42 more citizens, de Sousa resigned.

Meanwhile, four people died from fires in the Galicia region of northwest Spain. Fires in Croatia destroyed homes and other buildings in the village of Podstrana, and the historic town of Split. Along the Dalmatian coastline of the Adriatic Sea, grasslands and woods burned, along with homes, cars, and public buildings. On the southern Adriatic coast, in Montenegro, fires burned through the historic Lustica Peninsula town of Tivat, which had to be evacuated. Montenegro, unprepared for the scale of fires, asked NATO for firefighters, aircraft, and assistance with evacuations.

In Italy this year, some 900 wildfires burned over 130,000 hectares. Residents and tourists were forced to evacuate parts of Rome and Naples, including Mount Vesuvius national park and the Castelfusano coastal pine forest, south of Rome. A beach resort on the island of Sicily had to be evacuated. This is a typical impact of global heating. Italy experienced 30% less rain and 30% more wildfires. In July, fires burned near Castagniers and Nice, in southeast France and on the French island of Corsica. In southwest Turkey, fires destroyed 40 homes as communities evacuated. 

July was the hottest month in 130 years of Moscow's recorded climate history, and smoke from fires blanketed the region. Within a few days in July, fires burned some 150,000 hectares during an historic heat wave and drought.

In May, under record high temperatures and dry conditions, China and Mongolia grew even hotter and drier, leading to some of the largest fires on Earth in recent history. Fires burned through the Greater Hinggan Mountains, threatening the Hanma Nature Reserve and the city of Hulun Buir. In early July, Mongolia's National Emergency Management Agency fought 11 major forest fires across northern Mongolia, exhausting their supply of fire extinguishing equipment. President Khaltmaa Battulga and Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat prohibited people from entering the forest areas, called an emergency meeting, and instructed their engineers to attempt creating artificial rainfall. Legions of Mongolian citizens, communicating through social media, joined the fire brigades, but by the end of July, they faced more than 20 major fires, some threatening the capital at Ulan Bator.

Fires in western North America, broke records in Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California. The Seattle region experienced a +10°C temperature anomaly in August as fires burned through Washington state forests. Wildfires ravaged Oregon and killed 30 people in northern California, destroying some 3,500 homes and businesses in California's wine region, obliterating neighborhoods. Throughout the western United States, over a million hectares burned this summer.

Santa Rosa, California, fire devastation - 13 Oct, 2017

"Climate change is turning up the dial on everything," said LeRoy Westerling at the University of California. "Dry periods become more extreme, wet periods become more extreme, and fires are increasing. The ecosystem is changing."

Extreme Storms 

Global heating has increased ocean temperatures, adding energy to storms. By October, the year 2017 already approached the all-time record for both total measured storm energy and accumulated damage. This summer, hurricanes Nate, Harvey, Irma, and Maria pounded the Caribbean and Southeastern US. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US has experienced 15 weather disasters this year that cost more than $1 billion, an all-time record. A study from 13 US federal agencies concluded that "extreme weather events have cost the United States $1.1 trillion since 1980." 

Hurricane Harvey Flooding Rescue in Texas - 27 Aug, 2017

Storms have been getting stronger since the mid-1980s. An analysis of 167 years of data by the Associated Press found that no 30-year period in history had seen this many major storms. Typically, North Atlantic ocean temperatures remain too cool to support hurricane-level storms. This year, warmer than normal North Atlantic temperatures fueled tropical storm Ophelia to hurricane status on October 14, as it moved toward Ireland. Hurricane-force gusts of 192 km/hour hit Ireland, flooding coastal towns, and causing structural damage, vast power outages, and two deaths.

The Atlantic coasts of Ireland, England, France, Spain, and Portugal now face, for the first time, the sustained threat of hurricanes. Four years ago, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute predicted that by 2100, global warming would increase the frequency of hurricane winds in western Europe.

The extreme fires and storms of 2017 signify more than just a 'new normal'. With each fraction of a degree that Earth's average temperature increases, these fires and storms will increase in intensity. The effects of climate change are not linear. A one-degree increase in temperature will yield about four-times the intensity of fires and storms. Some evidence suggests that by mid-century, fires and storms could double in their destructive power. 

A study published in Nature suggests that limiting global heating to the Paris goal of 2°C is now "unlikely". The UN now estimates that the median projected global temperature increase is 3.2°C with a likely range up to 4.9°C and a high end of 8°C. The "new normal" will be constant change; a growing intensity of storms, fires, and other extreme weather, for as long as human carbon emissions continue.

Even if it sounds hopeless, it’s not. We have the chance to act decisively to change our present. All we need to fix this massive challenge is at our disposal.  We just need the courage to come together and make it happen.

Rex Weyler is an author, journalist and co-founder of Greenpeace International.

Sources and Links:

 How climate change is "turning up the dial" on wildfires: CBS News

"The Uninhabitable Earth,' David Wallace Wells: New York Magazine, June 2017

"Spain, Portugal Wildfires Kill at Least 39": weather.com  

"Wildfires Roar Across Southern Europe": New York Times  

Fires in Russia: the Telegraph

Forest fires in N. Mongolia: Xinhua news

Huge forest fire in northern China: South China Morning Post

Video, Fires in Mongolia / China: China People's Daily

Maps of 2017 global fires: Popular Science

Wildfires, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, October 2017: Countercurrents  

Storms: weather and global warming: MPR News  

Historic Storm: Ophelia Strikes Ireland with Hurricane Force: Robert Scribbler

Hurricane Ophelia Batters Ireland: Weather Underground

"Less than 2°C warming by 2100 unlikely": Nature, July 2017 

"C02 Levels 50 Million Years Ago Tell Us About Climate Change Today": Clean Technica

Tropical forests no longer carbon sinks: Washington Post


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In 'Fiji-on-the-Rhine', islanders stress climate risks

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Fiji has turned a tiny part of Germany into a tropical Pacific island as it leads global negotiations on climate change, securing a stage for islanders' worries about rising sea levels.
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Fiji spending soars to battle climate risks

(Reuters) - Fiji warned on Friday it faces soaring costs to protect itself from climate change and called on the world to do more to curb carbon emissions to protect poor island nations from the increasing threat of floods and cyclones.
Read more [Reuters]

State of Play on Negotiations: Will COP23 Meet Ambition?

Negotiators have just seven days to hammer out crucial details that will ensure the Paris Agreement stays on track to be fully operational by 2020. Specifically, key issues in the rules governing the Paris Agreement's implementation and important discussions about how countries can improve their national climate plans – due to be submitted by 2020 – must be agreed here at COP23.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice, and president of COP20, said:
"About a week in, we are at a time in the negotiations when the issues on the table, such as pre-2020 action, and loss and damage, are complex but essential to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Now is the time for the Fijian presidency - and for all of us - to step up and remind ourselves that it has been two years since the world entrusted decision-makers to build a climate safe and resilient future for all. If our ambition was high then, the stakes are even higher now and our collective vision cannot falter."
 
Naoyuki Yamagishi, head of climate and energy, WWF-Japan said:
"By the end of these negotiations, we need to finalize the roadmap for the next year to ensure all actors are ramping up their actions before 2020 and setting the foundations for the global stocktake. The decision negotiators make in the next seven days will largely shape our ability to accelerate action on the scale needed to keep the Paris Agreement's temperature goals in sight."
 
Fernanda Viana De Carvalho, policy manager of WWF's global climate & energy practice, said:
"This round of climate negotiations opened with a clear sense of urgency but this is yet to translate into the results we need to see to stave off the worst impacts of climate change. The next week must yield faster and greater progress on key issues, such as loss and damage, and pre-2020 ambitions, to ensure that 2018 will see countries raise ambition in both the short and the long term."
 
Sandeep Chamling Rai, Senior Advisor on Global Adaptation Policy, WWF-Singapore, said:
"These UN climate talks were always going to be a litmus test for progress on adaptation and loss and damage issues but as negotiations carry on, countries must remember the decisions they take will impact the lives of vulnerable communities and ecosystems for years to come. The world's most vulnerable people are looking to Bonn and countries, developed and developing, need to deliver on their promises and implement the full functions of the Warsaw International Mechanism and operationalization of Global Goal on Adaptation."

To arrange an interview with a WWF climate expert at COP23, please contact:                         
Scott Edwards (WWF-International) | sedwards@wwfint.org | + 44 788 7954 116

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Bloomberg gives $50 million to aid shift from coal worldwide

OSLO (Reuters) - Former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg is donating $50 million to help nations around the world shift from coal to combat pollution and climate change, expanding his funding outside the United States.
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ADVISORY: Press Conference on Expectations for 2018 — The Year to Step Up on Climate Change

ADVISORY: Press Conference on Expectations for 2018 — The Year to Step Up on Climate Change BONN, GERMANY (November 9, 2017)—Senior representatives from Climate Action Network, World Resources Institute, We Mean Business and Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy will host a joint press conference at COP23 on Tuesday, 14 November, at 13:00 CEST to set expectations for 2018, a critical year when countries need to signal that they will ramp up their climate efforts and put the world...

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Why we should MAKE SMTHNG instead of going shopping

MAKE SMTHNG Week is about taking action for a better world.

From 2-10 December, at the start of the holiday shopping season, we want to invite you to make something with us. In cities around the world, makers are gathering to demonstrate how we can unite to create unique alternatives to buying something new.

We are calling all DIY mavens, minimalists, vegans and vegetarians, upcyclers, swappers, sewers, crafters and zero wasters - you’re all invited to join Greenpeace in collaboration with Fashion Revolution, Shareable and many others to inspire you to make the most of our resources.

Many of you have already started to rediscover the art, craft and joy of making: cooking, mending clothes, fixing electronics, upcycling used goods, growing your own food. You're making your own cosmetics; cleaning with vinegar and baking soda, ditching plastic and sharing your clothes, bikes and homes with each other. MAKE SMTHNG Week is your showcase for creative, innovative and unique alternatives to shopping something new.

DIY workshop during Beijing Design Week - 25 Sep, 2017

MAKE it happen

This movement is about much more than our organisation. Here’s what you can do:

  • Download our guidelines on how to get involved and share it with your friends

  • Watch out for our website where you'll be able to find an international event calendar and other resources.

  • Use our free branding toolkit to promote your own events and stories on social media, create posters, postcards and anything else.

  • Follow us on Instagram (@makesmthng) and tell the world about the things you’ve made by using the hashtag #makesmthng.

  • Get in touch with us by emailing makesomething@greenpeace.org if you'd like to collaborate.

 DIY workshop during Beijing Design Week - 25 Sep, 2017

Why?

Because we are buying too much stuff. There are billions of people on this planet who all shop for food, fashion and technology. To produce many of the goods we use, companies are contributing to climate change, destroying forests and polluting our oceans.

The amount of waste we create is mind-boggling. Every piece of plastic produced in the last 60 years still exists. As things get cheaper with planned obsolescence built in, we throw them away more often. In our consumerist societies, shopping counts for more than preserving things.

Plastic waste collected in Germany 

We buy twice as many clothes as we did 20 years ago, and wear them for half as long. It’s now cheaper to buy new things than to repair them. Even though our technology is advanced enough to instantly connect all corners of the world, we still can’t repair our mobile phones.

We need to shift from a throw-away culture to one where we value things again. We envision a world where we make the most of our resources. Each of us can take small actions in our everyday lives that together create a monumental change.

Make it last

Clothes Swapping Party in Germany

Instead of buying fast fashion and throwing it out after wearing it a few times, we can make our clothes last by caring for them and repairing them. To turn away from mindless consumerism, we can stop supporting companies which produce phones that can’t be repaired or have replaceable elements and start fixing things again.

When we replace meat with vegan or vegetarian alternatives, we turn away from the most inefficient way of feeding the world’s population. And whenever we bring a reusable bag and say no to single-use plastic and polyester fashion, we are preventing another piece of plastic from polluting our planet’s oceans and beaches.

Help us change the story of hyperconsumption: MAKE SMTHNG!

Making something together in Beijing.

Lu Yen Roloff is the communications lead for the Detox my Fashion campaign. 


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Democratic wins in U.S. state elections boost hopes for carbon trading

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. voters picked climate change advocates in a handful of gubernatorial and state legislature races on Tuesday, providing a potential boost to state-level efforts to fight global warming through carbon trading schemes.
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UN climate change talks struggle to deliver strong action on loss and damage

November 8. Bonn, Germany. On the 4th anniversary of the devastating typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines in 2013, three major civil society groups demand the climate talks (COP23) follow through on leaders' promises in the Paris Agreement to protect people and their livelihoods, and ecosystems from increasingly severe climate impacts. The attention to loss and damage has been growing over the years as it has become clearer that it is part of today's climate reality, argues CARE International, WWF and ActionAid. Sea-level rise, glacial melting, ocean acidification, and more intense disasters like typhoons and massive flash floods are taking place today: they are no longer a concern for a distant future. However, an ambitious outcome on loss and damage at the UN climate talks in Bonn is far from certain, as governments discuss the draft of a work plan of the UN loss and damage mechanism and how to consider loss and damage in rules to implement the Paris Agreement.
 
Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International said: "Loss and damage from climate change impacts already sets back efforts of the poorest and most vulnerable people, especially women and girls, to overcome poverty. Governments at the climate talks in Bonn should adopt an ambitious work plan. This should identify new funding sources during the next two years that would help poor communities recover from loss and damage and integrate gender considerations across all its activities, which is not the case yet."
 
Sandeep Chamling Rai, Senior Advisor on Global Adaptation Policy, WWF Signapore said: "COP 23 will be a litmus test for progress on loss and damage issues. Countries, especially the developed ones, need to step up on implementing the full functions of the Warsaw International Mechanism, especially on the enhancing action and support, including finance, technology, and capacity-building. The future of the vulnerable communities and ecosystems of the world are in the hands of their country negotiators here: It is time to deliver on their promises."
 
Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change, ActionAid said: "Having Fiji as president of this year's climate talks makes the Bonn conference very poignant. The world is looking to them to take this unique opportunity to make vulnerable people safe from the impacts of climate change. Negotiations have now started, and developing countries have put climate impacts at the centre of the talks. Yet so far developed countries have been non-committal in their response.  Fiji, therefore, needs to step up and show courageous leadership in their role as representative of the world's vulnerable people"
 
 
For further information, please contact:
 
CARE International
Camilla Schramek, Communication Officer
cschramek@care.dk or +45 50 22 92 88
 
WWF International
Scott Edwards, COP23 communications manager
sedwards@wwfint.org or +44 78 87 95 41 16
 
ActionAid
Ravneet Ahluwalia, COP23 Media Coordinator
ravneet.ahluwalia@actionaid.org or +44 (0) 7850 312438

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Why We Need Transformative Approaches to Managing Climate Change Risks Now

Why We Need Transformative Approaches to Managing Climate Change Risks Now Comments|Add Comment|PrintFarmers in Ethiopia. Flickr/Rod Waddington Growing impacts of a changing climate could dramatically alter the way people support themselves: certain crops may no longer be suitable in warmer conditions; water may become scarce due to increased drought; and rising seas may inundate land and contaminate aquifers with salt water. We will not be able to "climate proof" our way out of every climate...

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Trump not invited to Paris December climate change summit for now, says France

PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, who pulled his country out of the 2015 Paris climate change deal, is "for the time being" not invited to a climate change summit due to be held in the French capital in December, an official in President Emmanuel Macron's office said.
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Forests Deserve More Respect When It Comes to Climate Action

Forests Deserve More Respect When It Comes to Climate Action Comments|Add Comment|PrintForests are vital to climate action. Flickr/Kohei314 Like the deadpan comic Rodney Dangerfield, forests "don't get no respect" when it comes to their potential as a solution to climate change. A decade after tropical forests entered international climate negotiations, people now understand that losing trees to deforestation or degradation contributes to emissions, and they know more trees means more carbon...

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3 reasons this small country’s court decision will have a big impact on global climate action

Two years ago, a courageous law student, Sarah Thomson, sued the New Zealand Government over its weak climate targets. Now she’s made history.

On 2 November, 2017, the High Court of New Zealand issued a game-changing ruling. It found that climate change presents significant risks and government actions on climate change are subject to judicial scrutiny. The court also found that the former Minister for Climate Change acted unlawfully by failing to review the country’s climate change targets after the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published an updated report on climate science.

The court didn’t issue an order against the recently elected government because the new Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has committed the country to zero carbon by 2050. While Sarah is excited about the new 2050 target, she believes there needs to be a concrete plan to achieve it. Sarah hasn’t ruled out an appeal.

This ruling is a big deal.

It demonstrates that countries must review climate decisions in line with updated science and courts will weigh in on inadequate efforts to respond to climate change.

Here’s why this ruling from a small South Pacific country court will have a big impact on global climate action.

1. People are securing big wins for the climate in court.

First there was the case brought by the Urgenda Foundation and 900 co-plaintiffs. They argued that the Netherlands committed a tort of negligence against its citizens by contributing to climate change. The court agreed and ordered the government to increase its emission reduction targets.

Then in Pakistan a farmer sued the Federal government, arguing that inaction on climate change violated the constitutional rights to life and dignity. Again, the court agreed and ordered the government to act and placed it under judicial supervision.

Members of the Senior Women for Climate Protection deliver their legal complaint against Swiss authorities to the court in May, 2017.

And the wins continue. In the USA, 21 young people and a climate scientist, as guardians for future generations, sued the government for violating their rights by committing the US to a fossil fuel based energy system. In rejecting government and industry efforts to have the case dismissed, the court ruled that their case could proceed to trial and identified a new right to “a climate system capable of sustaining human life.”

Like the landmark decisions that came before it, the New Zealand High Court’s ruling will inspire more people to sue. It provides strong legal arguments in favor of government accountability for weak climate policies in other pending cases, such as the climate lawsuit brought by over 700 Swiss senior women.  

2. The stage is set for the climate trial in Norway and human rights investigation in the Philippines.

Another epic court battle is set to begin on 14 November, and a Norwegian court could be the next to hold a government accountable in a climate case.

Greenpeace Nordic and Nature & Youth filed a lawsuit against the Norwegian Government for opening up new areas in the Arctic for drilling for oil and gas, further north than ever before. They allege that the licenses infringe the Constitutional right to a healthy environment, explicitly safeguarded for future generations, as well as contravening the Paris Agreement.

Plaintiffs and supporters stand outside the Norwegian courthouse in Oslo with the lawsuit against the Norwegian government in October, 2016. 

On the other side of the world, the people of Tacloban are marking the 4th anniversary of super typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013. At least 6,300 lives were lost and millions of others were affected and have yet to recover. Like Sarah and the youth in Norway, disaster survivors and other Filipinos are using the power of the law to accelerate action on climate change.

In September 2015, they filed a legal petition, triggering a powerful human rights body to launch a serious investigation into the responsibility big fossil fuel companies have for fuelling climate impacts that contribute to human rights harms. On December 11th, the Commission will be holding a preliminary conference with the aim of finding a speedy resolution, which the people hope will work to prevent climate-related human rights harms.

3. Climate litigation creates a strong mandate for global climate action.

The Paris Climate Agreement set down a bold ambition to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We’re in a race against time to increase climate action to meet this target.

Right now, governments are gathering in Bonn, Germany at the 23rd annual Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This should also be the moment where countries prepare to speed up their global climate action efforts.

The New Zealand ruling is a warning to all governments. If countries fail to get their act together to make sure deadly climate impacts are averted, they too will be hauled into court.

Take action! You can hold the big polluters accountable. Add your name and support communities seeking climate justice through legal actions.

Kristin Casper is Litigation Counsel for the global Climate Justice and Liability Project with Greenpeace Canada and Kate Simcock is a Campaigner at Greenpeace New Zealand.


Read more [Greenpeace international]

4 Reasons for Countries to Enhance Their NDCs by 2020

4 Reasons for Countries to Enhance Their NDCs by 2020 Comments|Add Comment|PrintMesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley, California, one of the hottest places on Earth. Photo by tom_stromer/Flickr The Paris Agreement was widely hailed for drawing all nations together to tackle climate change, based on bottom-up contributions that will be reviewed and strengthened over time. These contributions are aimed at achieving the ambitious but necessary long-term goals of limiting global temperature...

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This year to be among three hottest on record: 'extraordinary weather' - U.N.

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - This year will be among the three hottest on record in a new sign of man-made climate change that is aggravating "extraordinary weather" such as hurricanes, droughts and floods, the United Nations said on Monday.
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2017 will be among three hottest years on record: U.N.

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - This year is set to be among the three warmest since records began in the 19th century, the head of the U.N.'s weather agency said at the start of a 200-nation conference on slowing climate change in Bonn, Germany.
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HSBC pledges $100 billion of finance by 2025 to combat climate change

LONDON (Reuters) - HSBC has pledged to provide $100 billion in financing and investment by 2025 to help combat climate change, the bank said on Monday.
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Bonn talks test global resolve to fix climate, without Trump

OSLO (Reuters) - Governments will try to bolster a 2015 pact to combat climate change at annual talks in Germany from Monday strained by President Donald Trump's plan to pull out and instead promote the U.S. coal and oil industries.
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License to krill

 

Two days ago, the gavel came down in an adjudication decision which may, more than any other recent hammer-strike, determine the future of fishing: The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) officially bestowed its blue-and-white fish-check label to a massive factory operator that targets Antarctic krill. This is not a good thing.

Antarctic krill are tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that cluster in vast multitudes (known as blooms) in the waters of the Southern Ocean. They form a critical building block in the oceanic food web: small fish consume the krill before being eaten themselves by seals, penguins, toothfish, and other animals.

Krill are also a primary source of nourishment for migratory whales -- in fact, the majority of the worlds baleen whales journey to the southern ocean to feed on krill and replenish their energy supplies after depleting their reserves during their mating and calving seasons.

While krill in their vast numbers do seem on the surface to be an inexhaustible resource, one would hope that, by this time, we have learned that this mindless assumption will never be accurate in regard to any of the inhabitants of our finite planet. There is no such thing as an inexhaustible resource. Ask any great auk or passenger pigeon, theyll tell you. Oh, wait -- you can't ask them. Because there arent any left. Because there's no such thing as an inexhaustible resource.

There are a few things that we are certain of about krill. The first is that the tiny animal, like many other sea creatures -- especially crustaceans -- is vulnerable to climate change, especially through the ocean acidification trends resulting from the rising levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Nowhere in the Marine Stewardship Council certification system are the potential effects of climate change even discussed, let alone taken into account by the methodology. Strike one.

Next, we know that Antarctic krill exist in the Southern Ocean an area adjacent to a land mass that is uninhabited by humans. The simple fact that we are sending fishing vessels into this area bespeaks an unsustainable paradigm, known as finite expansion. There is a certain amount of ocean on this planet. That we continue to fish farther, deeper, and longer simply underscores the fact that we are not approaching the management of our oceanic resources from a sensible and comprehensive standpoint that would account for the idea that one day one day quite soon, actually these fishing boats are going to bump up against the ice shelf. No more expansion. What then?

The Marine Stewardship Council methodology again fails to even consider these perspectives, concentrating instead on discrete management techniques that do not consider the idea that sustainability is more than a fishery-by-fishery label it is a way of looking at the world. Strike two.

Finally, we know that we have only a very rudimentary understanding these tiny animals. Krill have been studied only cursorily and we have almost no knowledge of their life history and behavior. It is irresponsible in the extreme to proceed with the certification of a fishery that is so cloaked in mystery we have no idea what kind of damage we could be doing. Strike three.

And yet in the face of all these worries, the rubber stamp comes down and the MSC pronounces the krill fishery to be sustainable. Lets not forget that vehement objections to this certification have already been lodged by the Pew Environment Group and the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. These objections were overruled -- but let us not forget that the three strikes listed above were not taken into account in the decision, as they are simply not part of the MSC methodology... and if something isn't part of the system, it apparently doesn't have any relevance on reality. Or so the adjudication decision would lead one to believe.

There is a conceptual concern here too. The certification of this fishery gives an unofficial nod to the basic idea that vacuuming up the tiny life forms forming the foundations of the oceanic ecosystem is an acceptable practice. In reality, its not. Even the United States fishery management authorities banned fishing for krill in US waters, specifically to allow it to remain in the ocean as a food source for other organisms.

Legitimizing and expanding Antarctic krill fishing is simply transferring our unceasing resource demand to a hitherto unrecognized protein source. This is not the way to move forward in fact, pulling too hard on this loose yarn just might unravel the whole tapestry. The certification of krill makes no sense. Its a minuscule building-block animal on the other side of the world that simply doesnt belong to us. We cant even eat it the krill will just be used to make oil, fish food, and other rendered products. And for this, we may end up short-changing whales, toothfish, seals, and other animals all because the powers that be refuse to look at the entire issue from a larger perspective. Fishing for krill will not feed the world -- but it just might end up starving it.

[This blog was first published by Greenpeace USA on May 26, 2010]


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Thousands march against coal ahead of climate conference in Bonn

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Thousands of people took to the streets of Bonn on Saturday to call for the phasing out of coal as a source of power ahead of global talks on climate change in the German city next week.
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In clash with Trump, U.S. report says humans cause climate change

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The rapid pace of global climate change is almost certainly driven by human activity, like burning fossil fuels, according to a U.S. government report that contradicts assertions by President Donald Trump and members of his administration.
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U.S. Climate Assessment: Now Is the Warmest Period of Modern Times

U.S. Climate Assessment: Now Is the Warmest Period of Modern Times Comments|Add Comment|PrintBoats at Orient, New York. The U.S. Northeast could see significant sea level rise. Photo by Mark Goebel/Flickr A comprehensive new U.S. government report released today confirms the well-established science behind climate change: it is real, it is human-caused, it is happening faster than predicted and it poses a tremendous threat to America and the rest of the world. Titled the Climate Science Special...

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Climate leaders: the time has come

A common thread throughout history is that great leaders did the right thing at the right time, with courage and integrity. The current climate crisis has thrust our generation into such a moment in history.

Today, we face a threat and an opportunity like none we have seen before and have a small window of time in which to take decisive, bold action against climate change and deliver true security and justice for everyone.  

It is not an easy challenge, but it’s one we can achieve with a sense of shared leadership. The enormity of climate change could easily dwarf us individually, but collectively we can rise to the challenge.

We can’t avert catastrophic climate change if only a few of us take action. It requires something of us all: from citizens to city mayors, from corporate CEOs to those on the frontlines of climate change, and world leaders too.

Hot air balloon over Hamburg during the G20 summit - 5 Jul, 2017

As politicians and non-state actors arrive in Bonn for the UN climate talks (COP23 - the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC) we will be looking for shared climate leadership to emerge.

In the two years since the Paris Climate Agreement signalled the intention to limit global warming to 1.5ºC, world leaders have failed to deliver on their promise.

This was exposed in the UN Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap Report 2017, which showed that the pledges countries have made would only deliver a third of what is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Climate action from the private sector and sub-national action is not enough to close the gap.

The World Meteorological Organisation’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin revealed that levels of carbon dioxide had surged at “record-breaking speed” to new highs in 2016. Rapidly increasing levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases can spark unprecedented changes in climate systems, they warned.

Time is running out. This year’s climate-fuelled hurricanes, floods and droughts will rapidly worsen if we fail to seize our moment. The sooner we act, the better.  Bonn must help turn the tide.

Shared leadership. We can’t go it alone.

That’s the message G7 and G20 leaders gave to US President Donald Trump after he announced that the US would turn its back on the Paris agreement. The G7 and G20 held the line and recommitted to Paris, isolating Trump.

Supporters for the Paris Agreement at the COP22 in Marrakech - 18 Nov, 2016

A large non-federal US delegation will attend next week’s climate talks. They tell a different story about the reality of how the US is still committing to climate action, displaying the kind of leadership that we hear about in historic moments: the strength to stand up for what’s right. Likewise, two members of Pacific Island Represent will be in Bonn to call on world leaders to honour their Paris commitments.

And they are not alone. In Norway, the first developed country to ratify the Paris Agreement, people are taking the Norwegian government to court over its Arctic oil drilling, exposing its climate hypocrisy. This lawsuit is part of a global wave of people litigating to hold governments and big polluters to account as the rapid pace of climate change outstrips our ability to adapt.

Leadership is having the courage to say enough is enough.

But they need support. Germany, as host of the UN climate talks with climate vulnerable Fiji, has an obligation to lead the way. Germany still doesn’t have a plan to phase-out coal or combustion engines, unlike other European states like Italy, France and the UK. That is not shared leadership.

We are calling on world leaders to come forward, not just in Bonn, but in the days, weeks, and months afterwards to say that they will stand on the right side of history, that they will be remembered for the decisions they take now.

They will do so because the moment is here. This is our defining now.

Otherwise, history will only judge them harshly.

Jennifer Morgan is the Executive Director of Greenpeace International.


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Healthy economies need a healthy Mother Earth

The economic future of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region looks bright. In recent years, ASEAN has been growing by around 5 per cent a year and the Asian Development Bank estimates that by 2030 nearly half a billion of ASEAN's population will be considered middle class. New International Monetary Fund (IMF) projections put the region on track to becoming the fourth largest economy in the world by 2050.
 
It would be difficult to find a business today that doesn't keep track of these projections and trends in economic health and not be excited about the region's prospects. From New York and Frankfurt to London and Singapore, the rise and fall of each trend are closely scrutinised to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate risks. Yet, few businesses take note of another critical trend that can impact their operations and profits just as much, if not more. The failing health of the planet.
 
We cannot have a prosperous society in a degraded planet and all signs are pointing to human activity driving the planet to the edge, as business and people consume more natural resources than the Earth can regenerate. We cut more trees than can regrow, we catch more fish than can reproduce, we emit more greenhouse gasses than natural systems can absorb. We create materials like plastic that last forever and throw it away after a single use.
 
The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction estimates that in the last 10 years, climate-related disasters have caused USD 1.4 trillion worth of damage worldwide, with the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam among those countries most frequently impacted. Going forward, floods alone could cost Southeast Asia as much as USD 215 billion each year by 2030, according to the World Resources Institute. The latest World Economic Forum's Global Risks report lists climate instability, extreme weather events and water scarcity as major risks faced by business today. The economic contribution of nature is at present largely invisible and unaccounted for,  but the cost of a degraded planet is beginning to hit the economy.
 
In the case of ASEAN today, the region already faces a multitude of transboundary environmental issues such as extreme weather events, haze, freshwater scarcity, and overfishing, along with dwindling forest cover and loss of biodiversity. As intangible as it may seem, loss of biodiversity, is one of the major threats to the health of crucial ecosystems like oceans and forests on whose services our economy, social stability and individual well being depend.
 
As the effects of climate change worsen and our planet's resources and natural systems come under increasing strain, sustainability issues will increasingly hit companies' bottom lines. Businesses that depend on water and commodities are particularly vulnerable. For instance, when asked about supply chain snags with sugarcane, sugar beets and citrus for its fruit juices, Coca-Cola admits that increased droughts, more unpredictable variability, and 100-year floods every two years are major threats.
 
It's clear that companies not only have a responsibility to ensure that the natural resources and ecosystems that underpin their business are used sustainably, but must do so for their own bottom lines and long-term viability. Protecting land, oceans, rivers, forests as well as their biodiversity and communities will mitigate risks in the supply chain and also provide enormous opportunities for businesses willing to invest in the future.
 
This is particularly true in ASEAN. Favourable economic outlooks are a great opportunity for businesses in the region to lead the way toward a long-term approach, rather than obsessing over short-term profits.
 
Now that we are increasingly understanding the finite nature of our planet and the fragility of its natural systems, protecting the environment makes perfect business sense. A study published in the Business Harvard Review last year shows how sustainability benefits the bottom line by driving competitive advantage through stakeholder engagement, improving risk management, fostering innovation, improving financial performance and building customer loyalty. Increasingly, employees, customers and investors are demanding that business promotes environmental, social and governance practices - for the bottom line and for the 'greater good'. Yet, despite the benefits of sustainability, many companies are still dragging their feet and taking a short-sighted, short-term approach.
 
A new WWF report published with the National University of Singapore (NUS), found that banks in ASEAN are failing to redirect financial flows away from environmentally and socially destructive business practices, and importantly, not yet tapping into growth opportunities also needed to finance the transition to a sustainable economy. A huge opportunity lies in tackling the worsening global water crisis. Key will be redirecting financial flows towards more sustainable water projects. We currently work with financial institutions on innovative approaches such as blue bonds and water stewardship funds to help bridge the gap between the world's water needs and funds waiting to be invested in sustainable and bankable water projects.
 
Opportunities also lie in the energy sector. Just last month, ADB approved two loans totaling USD 1.1 billion to strengthen and diversify Indonesia's energy sector, including renewables. Climate change isn't just causing the ice caps to melt; it's costing corporations big bucks. Companies that ignore climate-related risks will feel the consequences.
 
Shining a spotlight on the world's greatest issues, the UN Sustainable Development Goals offer another opportunity to fundamentally shift the way to do business. For the first time, we have an integrated approach that connects the economy, society and the environment. To my mind, this represents a catalyst for innovation and new market opportunities for executives to embrace and drive growth while at the same time being a force for good. We have been partnering for decades with leading companies worldwide on transforming their business practices for the good of profits, people, and the planet, and sustainability is playing an increasingly significant role in business strategy.
 
The key to a bright future for businesses, and of course the planet, lies in establishing resilient markets that produce more sustainably, consume more wisely and safeguard our natural wealth. Healthy economies depend on a healthy environment - that is the bottom line.

Written by Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International   
 

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Global Goals, Local Basins: Why We Need a Methodology for Targeting Water Investments

Global Goals, Local Basins: Why We Need a Methodology for Targeting Water Investments Comments|Add Comment|PrintDelivering universal water access demands big, and smart, investments. Flickr/IrenicRhonda Just over two years ago—on September 25, 2015—over 150 world leaders adopted the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger, lift populations up from poverty, fight climate change, protect the natural environment and tackle economic inequality by 2030. SDG 6, the global...

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Got Climate Questions? Climate Watch Has Answers

Got Climate Questions? Climate Watch Has Answers Comments|Add Comment|PrintBonn, Germany, site of the 2017 climate summit. Photo by Thomas Luebke/flickr Negotiators and stakeholders headed to Bonn, Germany, for next week’s UN climate summit continue to confront a range of questions surrounding one essential query: How do we meet the imperative to lower greenhouse gas emissions now — quickly — to minimize the most severe impacts of climate change? To address this challenge, World Resources...

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World set to bust global warming goal, but U.N. cool on threat from Trump

GENEVA (Reuters) - Greenhouse gas emissions are on course to be about 30 percent above the 2030 global target, but there are signs of a move away from fossil fuels that not even U.S. President Donald Trump can stop, the United Nations said on Tuesday.
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Climate change harms health worldwide as millions swelter: study

OSLO (Reuters) - Climate change has caused severe harm to human health since the year 2000 by stoking more heat waves, the spread of some mosquito-borne diseases and under-nutrition as crops fail, scientists said on Tuesday.
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