sexta-feira, novembro 11, 2011
quinta-feira, junho 18, 2009
Eu aposto que no dia 1 de Janeiro de 2030 a população humana na Terra estará, pelo menos, 5% (cinco por cento) abaixo do seu máximo de sempre.
O meu irmão aposta que no dia 1 de Janeiro de 2030 a população humana na Terra estará no seu máximo conhecido.
Se a população humana na Terra, no dia 1 de Janeiro de 2030, estiver menos do que 5% abaixo do seu máximo de sempre, nenhum de nós ganha ou perde a aposta.
Aquele que perder a aposta proporcionará um almoço no que fôr considerado o melhor restaurante de Portugal para a totalidade de ambas as respectivas famílias.
Esse almoço terá lugar num dia a combinar do primeiro trimestre de 2030. Considera-se restaurante qualquer casa onde sejam servidas refeições a troco de dinheiro ou géneros. Portugal é considerado com as fronteiras de hoje. Considera-se família todos os nossos ascendentes, todos os nossos descentes e todos os que forem considerados companheiros de vida nossos e/ou dos nossos descendentes no máximo de um companheiro por cada um de nós e/ou dos nossos descendentes. Poderão ser admitidas pessoas adoptadas na família através de processos devidamente legalizados.
Esta aposta resulta da minha crença firme no colapso e na observação de que a medida mais fiável de colapso é a população.
Um cheirinho do porquê desta aposta:
THE TIGHTENING CONFLICT: POPULATION, ENERGY USE, AND THE ECOLOGY OF AGRICULTURE
"The End of the Line"
Dead Pool -- Imagining the Future of the American Southwest
The Crash Course
A River of Books
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
terça-feira, junho 16, 2009
The effects of climate change are dramatically illustrated at the world's "third pole", so-called because the mountain range locks away the highest volume of frozen water after the north and south poles.
The 1956 photograph of the Imja glacier, then one of the largest glaciers at an altitude of around 5,000m, shows a layer of thick ice with small meltwater ponds. But by the time Byers took his shot in 2007, much of the glacier had melted into a vast but stunning blue lake. Today, the Imja glacier, which is just 6km from Everest, continues to recede at a rate of 74m a year - the fastest rate of all the Himayalan glaciers.
Nepal's average temperature has increased by 1.5C since 1975. A major UN Environment Programme report last year warned that at current rates of global warming, the Himalayan glaciers could shrink from 500,000 square kilometres to 100,000 square kilometres by the 2030s - a prediction supported by the rate of retreat seen in Byers' pictures.
Imja is one of 27 glacial lakes in Nepal classified as potentially dangerous. If the moraines which dam the lake are breached, thousands of lives in the most densely populated Sherpa valley in Nepal are at risk from flooding and landslides.
Himalayan glaciers also feed into major Asian river systems including the Ganges, Indus, Mekong and Yangtze. If glacial meltwaters turn to a trickle, widespread droughts will threaten the 1.3 billion people that depend on water flowing in those rivers.
segunda-feira, maio 25, 2009
Catastrophe is not the end. Unless you are a monster, the future we've inherited will break your heart. But broken hearts can be mended; life goes on, and when it does, a fierce beauty is sometimes born. The world, when all is said, is always remade by broken people who refuse hopelessness, who refuse to be overcome with sorrow, who refuse to pass on that which broke them.
As we come to grips with the awful fact that we are already committing ourselves to centuries of crisis, loss and burning, we can hew close to the knowledge that while disaster is our inheritance, transcendence can yet still be our legacy. We are all Caryatids now, and we can all dare to hope for the best.
segunda-feira, maio 04, 2009
terça-feira, abril 14, 2009
quarta-feira, março 25, 2009
Copenhagen, Denmark: Following a successful International Scientific Congress Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions attended by more than 2,500 delegates from nearly 80 countries, preliminary messages from the findings were delivered by the Congress' Scientific Writing Team. The conclusions will be published into a full synthesis report June 2009. The conclusions were handed over to the Danish Prime Minister Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen today. The Danish Government will host the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2009 and will hand over the conclusions to the decision makers ahead of the Conference.
The six preliminary key messages are:
Key Message 1: Climatic Trends
Recent observations confirm that, given high rates of observed emissions, the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised. For many key parameters, the climate system is already moving beyond the patterns of natural variability within which our society and economy have developed and thrived. These parameters include global mean surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean and ice sheet dynamics, ocean acidification, and extreme climatic events. There is a significant risk that many of the trends will accelerate, leading to an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts.
Key Message 2: Social disruption
The research community is providing much more information to support discussions on "dangerous climate change". Recent observations show that societies are highly vulnerable to even modest levels of climate change, with poor nations and communities particularly at risk. Temperature rises above 2C will be very difficult for contemporary societies to cope with, and will increase the level of climate disruption through the rest of the century.
Key Message 3: Long-Term Strategy
Rapid, sustained, and effective mitigation based on coordinated global and regional action is required to avoid "dangerous climate change" regardless of how it is defined. Weaker targets for 2020 increase the risk of crossing tipping points and make the task of meeting 2050 targets more difficult. Delay in initiating effective mitigation actions increases significantly the long-term social and economic costs of both adaptation and mitigation.
Key Message 4 - Equity Dimensions
Climate change is having, and will have, strongly differential effects on people within and between countries and regions, on this generation and future generations, and on human societies and the natural world. An effective, well-funded adaptation safety net is required for those people least capable of coping with climate change impacts, and a common but differentiated mitigation strategy is needed to protect the poor and most vulnerable.
Key Message 5: Inaction is Inexcusable
There is no excuse for inaction. We already have many tools and approaches ? economic, technological, behavioural, management ? to deal effectively with the climate change challenge. But they must be vigorously and widely implemented to achieve the societal transformation required to decarbonise economies. A wide range of benefits will flow from a concerted effort to alter our energy economy now, including sustainable energy job growth, reductions in the health and economic costs of climate change, and the restoration of ecosystems and revitalisation of ecosystem services.
Key Message 6: Meeting the Challenge
To achieve the societal transformation required to meet the climate change challenge, we must overcome a number of significant constraints and seize critical opportunities. These include reducing inertia in social and economic systems; building on a growing public desire for governments to act on climate change; removing implicit and explicit subsidies; reducing the influence of vested interests that increase emissions and reduce resilience; enabling the shifts from ineffective governance and weak institutions to innovative leadership in government, the private sector and civil society; and engaging society in the transition to norms and practices that foster sustainability.
In short, organic farmers can be arrested for growing tomatoes. Food safety Obama style? More information you can find here:
Trust and confidence are the socio-psychological attributes that everyone considers to be essential to get the local and global economies going. How do you build them if the population does not have confidence in their politicians, let alone their banking executives? No confidence building can take place without political and economic leaders basing their policies on equity and sustainability. People have to see and experience fairness. They have to see and experience social, economic and ecological sustainability rather than some short-term measures and rhetoric. How can that be done? In last instance it can and has to be done by implementing values that humanity at this juncture in its history considers essential. Which are those values? We do have the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, recently, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and a Human Rights Council. We also have a 21st century successor of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the emerging Earth Charter which integrates the social and ecological values within a framework of the community of life. Humans are members of this Earth Community and they are not necessarily the most important ones in maintaining the Earth’s processes of the flowing of energy, the cycling of matter and the webbing of life. Without microbes there would not be life on planet Earth!
It is the primacy of values and principles over methods that should guide societies in building confidence and trust. Finally, building confidence and trust within the value context described above and taking measures such as the reversal of privately-owned banking systems to publicly owned banking systems, including central banks such as the US Federal Reserve Bank is to be pursued within the largest historical challenge of the sustainability revolution. What that means and the most important question in that regard is succinctly expressed by the first US EPA Administrator in the early 1970s. The Terra solution
Terra (Latin for Earth) is the name that I have given to the new international reserve currency that is based, not upon gold, nails, cowries or a basket of major currencies or commodities, but on carbon emissions permits or CEPs. These CEPS would be allocated on an equal basis to all adults on the planet—perhaps we should include youngsters because they sometimes have a heavy carbon footprint also —using the methodology of Cap and Share, www.capandshare.org. The targets of carbon reduction will determine the amount of CEPs each adult receives; the carbon price on the world market will determine the value of the CEPs. The Terra solution was raised publicly on January 15 during the first session of the UN Department of Information (DPI) where both the senior advisor, Dr. Michael Clark, and Ambassador Sofia Clark were representing the UN General Assembly President's Commission on Monetary and Financial Crises to the NGO community at UN Headquarters. In response to my comment that followed a question of how the Committee was dealing with the climate crisis and that suggested that member states establish an international reserve currency based upon carbon emissions and which would be made part of a nation’s balance of payments, Dr. Clark reacted very positively by calling the suggestion “brilliant”. Later on during the session he referred back to it as an example of how the NGO community can contribute to the Commission’s work. There is general agreement that the new international reserve currency is not to be bound to a nation such as the USA or to a region such as the EU. Many suggestions are being made to peg the currency to non-emission standards. From John Maynard Keynes in 1944 with his “bancor” to several others in the sixties and seventies, to Joseph Stiglitz who has for some time been suggesting a “global greenback” for that purpose. Irish economist Richard Douthwaite and I are among the main scholars/activists who are advocating an emission based currency unit. It is understandable that earlier scientists and statesmen have not chosen to base their currency unit on emissions, because it is only in the last decade or so that the climate crisis has been hitting home. Frans C. Verhagen, M.Div., M.I.A., Ph.D., sustainability sociologist International Institute of Monetary Transformation. www.timun.net New York City, March 2009
terça-feira, março 10, 2009
There is an enormous amount of pain and suffering of millions of humans and other sentient fellow creatures on account of the synchronous crises in the global financial system and in the change of the climate. This unnecessary suffering will continue to get worse in an international economic system that still enriches the few, impoverishes the many and imperils the planet.
The first phase in resolving these crises is to recognize them for what they are and what they do. While the consequences of these crises have become clear from the thousands of reports that deal with these crises, what the nature of these crises is has not become clear, particularly its causation in all its complexity. So, the second phase is an unbiased analysis in which analysts make explicit their values, perspectives, biases. The third phase builds on the first two: developing policies and plan of action based upon the best integrated thinking humanity has to offer. The final phase is to work for its implementation. It takes courage to take a position rather than be an undecided moderate who can go either way or no way.
This series of three articles presents a solution that does not reform, but transforms the present world order. It is a “global New Deal” that is based upon the values of equity and sustainability, the only values that can lead to stability in the monetary, financial, economic systems.
It is the International Institute of Monetary Transformation’s position that this needed monetary and financial transformation cannot take place within the present structure of the IMF, World Bank, WTO, and the lesser known Bank of International Settlements (BIS). Though they are trying to assert themselves and come up with reformist proposals, they will have to move over for a lasting equitable, sustainable, and, therefore, stable monetary, financial, trading and economic system to take place.
Solving the economic and climatological crises simultaneously, not sequentially
In doing the research for my forthcoming book TIMU: The Transformative Approach to Monetarily Solve the Economic Crisis by Solving the Climate Crisis I have observed that many people of all kinds of backgrounds are very hesitant to think that both the economic and climatological crises should be tackled simultaneously. Both crises are of such magnitude that they can only be tackled sequentially is the reasoning.
I was most encouraged a couple of days ago when two of the world’s most outstanding economists, Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern, published the following statement when they were meeting in Washington D.C. on March 2. They stated: “We face two crises: a deep global financial crisis, caused by inadequate management of risk in the financial sector; and an even deeper climate crisis, the effects of which may seem more distant but will be determined by the actions we take now. The scale of risk from climate change is altogether of a different and greater magnitude, as are the consequences of mismanaging or ignoring it.
The US, in particular, has a window of opportunity to act on the financial crisis and, at the same time, lay the foundations for a new wave of growth based on the technologies for a low-carbon economy. President Barack Obama, in his speech to Congress and budget last week, explained that we need to address both of these challenges, and outlined a broad approach. US leadership could generate a powerful response from across the world, making possible an agreement at the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen in December on a scale necessary to manage the risks involved.”
Given that the two economists believe the “scale of risk from climate change is altogether of a different and greater magnitude” than the risk of the economic meltdown it stands to reason that we look at solving the climate crisis first if we can and then consider the connections with the economic crisis. It is the institutional nexus of binding the resolution of both crises together that is being proposed in the Terra Solution and its monetary architecture.
Thus, among climate community activists and scholars, discussing the pros and cons of arbon reduction methodologies of cap&trade and the carbon tax I have been trying to introduce the third option: the Terra international reserve currency which is based on carbon emission permits which form part of a nation’s balance of payments. Like the other two methods the Terra carbon reduction option also reduces carbon emissions. However, the Terra option connects with the economic crisis because the Terra international reserve currency represents real money that will flow from ecological debtor countries in the global North to ecological creditor countries in the global South. It would institutionally guarantee funding for development and pay for mitigation and adjustment costs of the climate crisis in the global South.
When the two economists above pointed to the inadequate (should it not be grievous?) mismanagement of the banking sector as the main cause of the economic crisis, they and almost everyone else fail to mention that in almost all countries the banking system is privately owned. Thus, in the USA, the Federal Reserve Bank with its 12 regional banks is owned by private banks which have managed, since 1913, to be legally in the business of money creation which is the duty, right and responsibility of the public sector. They create money by the fractional reserve system which can multiply a deposit of $1000 ten times. In the discussions about the banking crisis in the USA, Europe and elsewhere (not in China, India) bailouts and even temporary nationalization are seen as solutions.
However, what is needed is a reversal of privately-owned banking systems to publicly owned banking systems, including central banks such as the US Federal Reserve Bank. A most important book in this regard is EH Brown’s The Web of Debt. The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free. Benjamin Franklin, President Lincoln, political parties in the 1890s and even President Kennedy for some time managed to have the public sector implementing its constitutional right of coinage.
Frans C. Verhagen, M.Div., M.I.A., Ph.D., sustainability sociologist International Institute of Monetary Transformation. www.timun.net New York City, March 2009
quinta-feira, fevereiro 26, 2009
Não há hipótese
terça-feira, fevereiro 03, 2009
"The data in this study is from our most stable, resilient stands of trees," Franklin told IPS.
What this means is that the United States' best forests are getting thinner.
It is like a town where the birth rate is stable but the mortality rate for all ages doubled over the past two decades. "If that was happening in your hometown you'd become very concerned," said Nate Stephenson, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
This dramatic increase of in tree mortality applies to all kinds, sizes, ages and locations of trees. In the Pacific Northwest and southern British Columbia, the rate of tree death in older coniferous forests doubled in 17 years. In California, doubling mortality rates took a little longer at 25 years. For interior states it took 29 years.
Mortality has increased in lock-step with rising temperatures of about 1 degree C in the last 30 years. Air pollution and ground level ozone were investigated and eliminated as the cause of the increased mortality, Stephenson told IPS.
Warmer temperatures in the west have meant the summer drought period is longer. The mountain snow pack contains less snow and melts much earlier in the spring. Warmer temperatures also favour insects like tree-damaging beetles. The combination of trees suffering moisture stress and a few more insect pests appears to be enough to tip the balance, said Tom Veblen of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
"We're seeing continental-scale evidence of warming," Veblen said. "It is very likely tree mortality will increase further as temperatures continue to rise."
Previous research has shown global warming is largely responsible for the enormous increase in forest fires in the west and the massive insect outbreaks like that of the mountain pine beetle, expected to kill 80 percent of the pine forest in Canada's province of British Columbia by 2013.
Forests of all kinds contain more than 80 percent of Earth's terrestrial biodiversity. Not only do they absorb carbon, forests produce 30 percent of the world's oxygen. They are also a key part of the planet's climate regulating system. About half of the world's forests are already gone.
Carbon emissions from burning of fossil fuels is warming temperatures globally but forests play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere and sequester or trap carbon. As a result, forests around the world store as much carbon as is currently in the atmosphere.
Dead trees release that stored carbon. If the mortality rate of big trees goes up, then North America's forests become a source of carbon emissions, leading to even higher temperatures and still thinner forests in a feedback loop.
"At best they will take up less carbon from the atmosphere," said Franklin. "Older, stable forests should be left alone. We don't want to accelerate this process."
Large old growth trees hold far more carbon than young, fast growing trees and so there is no way to recover the carbon lost from logging old growth, he said. Government policies should reflect this reality. Preserving old growth forests must be part of the international climate agreement that will be negotiated in Copenhagen, he said.
Surprisingly, this is the first large-scale analysis of mortality rates in temperate forests but Franklin believes the increase in mortality is widespread and applies to forests everywhere.
Logging aside, the fact that forests are dying is not new. Scientists have known since the 1980s that temperate forests were suffering from pollutants such as acid rain, nitrogen deposition and increased ground-level ozone, as well as higher ultraviolet radiation levels. While invisible to nearly everyone, the slow decline of U.S. forests was well-documented in a 1995 book "The Dying of the Trees" by science writer Charles E. Little.
Based on the science of the day, Little accurately predicted that the western U.S. would burn and deserts would expand and that sugar maples would largely vanish from the northeast in the near future. And, particularly because of global warming, he regretfully concluded that temperate forests had crossed a threshold. "And the more trees die, the more will die," he wrote.
Scientists working in tropical forests now say these forests are extremely sensitive to increases in temperature. The vast majority of tropical forests exist where the annual average temperature is 25 to 26C. Before the end of this century temperatures in tropical regions are projected to be 3C higher. No forest exists anywhere where the annual average temperature is 28C, Joseph Wright of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama told IPS in a previous interview.
"That doesn't mean something else won't replace tropical forests, but we don't know what it will be," said Wright.
Major reductions in carbon emissions and deforestation are urgently needed, the experts all agree. Little said the same thing 14 years ago. But he also said that humanity needed to begin the process of environmental repair: "The trees could save us, if we would save the trees, for they are the threshold."
terça-feira, janeiro 13, 2009
1. Length of time to come on stream
Commissioning and building new plants is a time-consuming business (at least twenty years), so they would have little or no impact on cutting emissions over the next twenty years, nor build any resilience in the face of peak oil.
The insurance industry refuses to underwrite nuclear power, a gap it looks like the government will have to fill, resulting in a huge invisible subsidy for nuclear power.
Nuclear waste is a huge problem. The UK alone has 10,000 tons of nuclear waste, a pile which will increase 25-fold when the existing plants are decommissioned, with no solution in sight other than deep burial. The disposal of nuclear waste requires a great deal of embodied energy, including that in the materials used to maintain the disposal facilities (i.e. concrete and steel). It is often said that nuclear waste has a half-life of 100,000 years…it is worth remembering that Stonehenge was built only 4,000 years ago.
A society in energy descent, dependent on local, lower embodied energy building materials, will struggle to maintain nuclear waste sites with cob blocks and straw bales.
A new programme of nuclear power would be staggeringly expensive. Amory Lovins has calculated that 10 cents invested in nuclear energy could generate 1kwh of nuclear energy, 1.2- 1.7kwh wind-power, 2.2-6.5kwh small co-generation, or 10kwh of energy efficiency. Also, having sufficient money to invest so unwisely assumes an economy which is still growing, an increasingly unlikely prospect.
5. Peak Uranium
At the moment, there are about 60 years’ worth of uranium left. However, if electricity generation from nuclear grows steadily, this figure will fall, to the point where if all the world’s electricity were generated with nuclear, we’d have around 3 years supply left.
6. Carbon Emissions
Nuclear is often said to be a carbon-free way of generating electricity. While that may be true for the actual generation, it is not when the entire process is looked at. The mining, processing, enrichment, treatment and disposal all have significant impacts, equivalent to around one-third those of a conventional- sized gas-fired generating plant.
quarta-feira, janeiro 07, 2009
Porque acredito na inevitabilidade do colapso?
segunda-feira, outubro 13, 2008
Global economic systems crash not only because of greed, fraud and toxic assets, but because those systems rest on fallacies about the natural world. The Ponzi scams and derivatives swindles of international bankers are no substitute for real economy: the living ecological systems, energy, soils, minerals, forests, and seas.
The self-serving theories of growthaholic economists peel away from this deep reality like cheap wallpaper. Since the days of Akhenaten and Caesar, overfed profiteers have insisted that their elite and esoteric genius creates wealth. When they salted the soils or decimated forests, they would march into the next watershed or “discover” another continent.
Those days are over. There are no more giant resource pools to plunder. The wealth of Pharaohs and stock hustlers arrived not from their genius, but from their facility with deception, fashioning loans with fantasy money, and trading bets on the changing value of paper promises, the modern “derivatives” market. But in the end, all this affluence relies on the real wealth: nature, her systems, her materials, and her energies.
Markets will rally and crash again, and paper pushers will stuff more cash into their safety deposit boxes, but in the end, money cannot replace soil and water. Gross domestic products provide no surrogate for authentic well-being.
As world stock markets collapsed this fall, several urgent environmental events rumbled below the superficial hand-wringing, like deep volcanoes awakening to announce, “Nature shall not be mocked.”It’s the soil, folks
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us,” wrote American ecologist Aldo Leopold five decades ago. “When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
Economists ignored, even ridiculed, such warnings from ecologists, and the planet now faces a shortage of fertile soil, the result of erosion, salination, contamination, desertification, and a swelling population. UN Agriculture head, Lennart Bage, announced last summer, “Fertile land with access to water has become a strategic asset.” It always has been, for everything that lives.
This year, Iran bought over 1 million tons of wheat from the US, something it has not done since 1980. Iran would not come begging to its avowed enemy if it had any other option. Iran, the Saudis, and other oil-rich Middle East nations rely on global agriculture for grain. The United Arab Emirates buy farmland in Sudan and Kazakhstan. South Korea seeks land in Mongolia, China in Southeast Asia. Libya leases farms in the Ukraine.
With the closing of Ukrainian shipments, only three major grain exporters remain: North America, Australia, and New Zealand. However, these global producers rely entirely on fertilisers and fossil fuels. However, the production of phosphorus, principal component of fertiliser, is rare and in decline, and the era of cheap energy is coming to an end.The big bonfire
Globalisation is literally running out of gas. Geologists at the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) Conference in California, in September, confirmed that world oil production has stopped growing and will begin its inevitable decline during the next decade.
A US Department of Energy study (The Hirsch Report) warned in 2005 – the year that global production plateaued – that society required a 20-year lead time to implement an optimal new energy plan. It is already too late for such a measured response, and this failure to act in time is the direct result of denial from lobbyists and economists, who chanted “eternal growth,” while obscuring or ignoring the evidence before them.
Conventional economic theory has claimed that resources are virtually infinite, that only capital and labour are required to create “wealth.” Oil depletion exposes this tragic conceit. Oil production declined last year in eight of the top twelve producing nations. Every major oil field on the planet is in decline, and global discoveries peaked 40 years ago.
Meanwhile, economic growth promoters expect humanity to double its vehicle fleet over the next decade, from 1 billion to 2 billion vehicles, while building more roads across arable farmland.
Wind and solar power developments will help mitigate the coming energy crunch, but will not replace cheap liquid fuels. Biofuels will have certain localised value, if based on agricultural waste, but will prove insignificant on a globalised scale. Corn ethanol undermines food agriculture, and will not remotely replace cheap oil. Cellulose and algae biofuel projects cannot even produce net energy, so they are not economic at any price.
New oil discoveries and recovery technologies lag hopelessly behind the decline of conventional oil fields. Oil industry promoters recently proclaimed “90 billion barrels of oil” in the Arctic. However, these lobbyists failed to mention that this oil – even if it could be confirmed and recovered – represents three years of global supply.
The best and cheapest energy source is conservation. The only environmentally feasible solution to the end of cheap liquid fuels is to burn less. Analyst Randy Udall, who drafted Colorado’s Renewable Energy Mitigation Program, told the ASPO conference that energy companies have no use for conservation. Instead, they will burn more coal, make liquid fuel from coal, and melt bitumen at unearthly temperatures in low-efficiency tar sands and oil shale projects.
Udall called our era of history “the Big Bonfire.” We burn a million tons of fossil fuel every hour, releasing 80-million tons of CO2 each day. And here, we arrive at the third big crack in the growthaholics’ thin facade.Ancient methane
According to the international Global Carbon Project, last year’s annual increase in carbon emissions, 2.9%, exceeded previous projections, “generating stronger climate forcing and sooner than expected.” All the international gatherings, carbon-trading festivals, and Kyoto handshakes have failed to reduce carbon emissions or even stabilise the growth rate of these emissions.
Meanwhile, in September, Orjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University – with the International Siberian Shelf Study, sponsored by the Russian Science Academy and American Geophysical Union – announced evidence that millions of tons of a methane gas – 25 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas – now escapes into the atmosphere from beneath the Arctic seabed. As the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned, the deep permafrost appears now to be thawing.
Scientists on board Russian research ship Jacob Smirnitskyi recorded methane bubbling to the sea surface, causing air-borne concentrations 100-times background levels. Ten previous expeditions since 2003 did not detect these levels of free methane. The new data describes releases so intense that the methane does not have time to dissolve in seawater but rises as bubbles to the ocean surface. Similar releases have been recorded in the East Siberian and Laptev Seas, amounting to millions of tons of methane from melting sub-sea permafrost.
The escaping methane represents a massive exhalation of ancient hydrocarbons likely captured in the Paleozoic warm era when amphibians crawled from the sea. The carbon escaped once before, during the Permian ecological collapse, 225 million years ago, leading to peak Mesozoic heat, and was recaptured as methane during the last 100 million years. Meteorologists warn that this significant store of ancient carbon could lead to run-away global warming, far beyond the influence of human technologies to sequester or forestall.
The methane represents an unaccounted cost of doing business in the era of the “big bonfire”. Market wizards may shave toxic assets from their balance sheets, but they cannot dictate nature’s accounting.Resilience
Regardless of stopgap bailouts and more paper promises, economic collapse will continue in fits and starts until humanity achieves genuine ecological balance, adopts a steady state economy, and finally understands that ecology is the foundation of human enterprise. There are only two options for living cultures in a physical system: homeostasis or collapse.
Future generations will have every right to dismiss the “big bonfire” as an era of ignorance and unconscionable excess. But I want future generations to know this: Many from our generation never sold you out. We kept our eyes open, witnessed the truth, and did our best to warn our bumbling, myopic civilisation.
I speak to many young people, who are terrified and/or angry about the state of the world, the wasteful extravagance of society, and needless ecological destruction. I experienced similar reactions when I learned as a child that our world could be vapourised by nuclear weapons. When we’re young, our families and teachers protected us from certain disturbing realities. If we remain naïve or ill-informed, the discovery of alarming truths about our world may create shock and outrage.
The best way to never again be disillusioned is to not be illusioned in the first place.
Economic sleight of hand won’t restore our place on this Earth. Human survival strategies now will be as much about resilience during transformation as finding “solutions” to preserve untenable expectations. Our resilience will include a rediscovery of a richer life with simpler means, a genuine quality of life that cannot be purchased but only lived. Human society can change, and in fact has to change. Don’t get depressed. Get informed and get active.- Rex Weyler
Alaska Pollock Fishery Near Collapse
Billion dollar fishing industry on the verge of collapse
segunda-feira, outubro 06, 2008
The committee added that since BA's offsetting scheme was launched in 2005, BA had encouraged the purchase of only 1,600 tonnes of offsets on average each year - approximately the emissions from "four return flights to New York on a (Boeing) 777".
The report went on: "This is risible. The company clearly recognises this, and during our evidence session announced its intention to improve the prominence and accessibility of offsetting on its website from the beginning of May. At the time of our agreeing this report, this simple change had not been made."
An economic storm is descending, and for many, the storm will be bad. While the Bush Administration and Congress wrestle with how to bail out Wall Street, and argue about how softly CEOs of failed financial institutions should be allowed to land, average citizens must leap into the new reality without benefit of 24-karat parachutes.
Recently, the Global Footprint Network issued a report stating that by September 23, humanity had consumed all the new resources the planet will produce for the year. For the rest of 2008, we are in the ecological equivalent of deficit spending, drawing down our resource stocks -- in essence, borrowing from the future. Sound familiar? We can't hope to keep to our economic budget if we can't keep to our ecological budget.
Whatever economy emerges from this crisis will need to put less emphasis on "more" stuff and greater emphasis on more of what matters -- like healthy communities, a healthy planet and a higher quality of life. In righting the economic ship, the end game shouldn't be to plug up a broken vessel, but to move to something more seaworthy -- one that sails within both personal and ecological limits.
segunda-feira, setembro 22, 2008
Half of Europe's frogs face extinction
Permafrost carbon estimates doubled A new study by a team of international scientists has revealed the amount of carbon frozen in the world's permafrost is double what was previously thought. The three-year study concluded that the amount of carbon locked up in the world's permafrost is at least 1,500 billion tonnes more than double previous estimates and the equivalent of twice the current amount of Co2 in the world's atmosphere. Permafrost is frozen soil found at high latitudes, close to the north or south poles, and contains the remains of plants and animals which due to the extreme cold do not decompose, trapping carbon in the soil. This is the most accurate assessment yet of the amount of carbon contained in worldwide permafrost but the actual amount may well be higher, says CSIRO scientist and study team member Dr Pep Canadell. "We are now in the ballpark of what probably is there, there is still a big issue and that is the depth, our database goes down to three metres for much of the permafrost ... but we know that the depths can be much greater," he said. The level of carbon contained in the world's permafrost is of particular significance to climate change as once the carbon it contains begins to be released there is no way to stop it. This could lead to a large amount of extra carbon dioxide and methane being released into the atmosphere and potentially speeding up warming, a process some climate scientists refer to as a tipping point, Dr Canadell says. "Technically, we call it the climate carbon feedback and permafrost is a beautiful one and we know that some of these processes can potentially be irreversible," he said. "Irreversible doesn't mean that all the carbon is going to go into the atmosphere right away, but it means that when it starts it's fundamentally impossible to stop. "It may take a few hundred years to melt and to release a substantial amount of carbon but there is nothing that humans can do once these things start." Dr Canadell likened the process to a massive compost pile which once started generates its own heat that would continue even if temperatures were to fall. "This is like a big compost pile, so when you start the decomposition of the compost pile, it is self heating," he said. "It's hot when you touch it so there is a point where you no longer need the external temperature driving that melting and decomposition, because the microbial community is self-generating enough heat to continue melting." The findings have been published in the latest edition of the scientific journal, Bioscience.
terça-feira, setembro 09, 2008
Depois da Tailândia
quinta-feira, julho 31, 2008
segunda-feira, junho 30, 2008
quarta-feira, maio 28, 2008
sexta-feira, maio 16, 2008
Decades after most countries stopped spraying DDT, frozen stores of the insecticide are now trickling out of melting Antarctic glaciers. The change means Adélie penguins have recently been exposed to the chemical, according to a new study.
The trace levels found will not harm the birds, but the presence of the chemical could be an indication that other frozen pollutants will be released because of climate change, says Heidi Geisz, a marine biologist at Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester in the US. She led a team that sampled DDT levels in the penguins.Melting glaciers release toxic chemical cocktail
quarta-feira, maio 14, 2008
The Socialist government, which initially opposed water transfers from one region to another, executed a political U-turn and allowed water to be pumped into Catalonia from the river Ebro in the neighbouring region of Aragon.
The move infuriated southern regions such as Murcia and Valencia, which asked for similar concessions. Both are significant agricultural areas, with a busy tourist season about to start, and expect their water supplies to be hit hard.
Meanwhile, despite heavy rainfall over the weekend water reserves in Catalonia only increased by 1.7%.
The Socialist government is following a controversial programme of building desalinisation plants, which they claim will provide a long-term solution to Spain's endemic water shortage. They have built six so far and plan a further 18. One is due to open outside Barcelona in May next year.
Ramón Llamas, a water expert at Madrid University, says Spain squanders its water and needs better soil management, adding that despite having one of the lowest amounts of rainfall in western Europe, it has one of the highest levels of water consumption a head: the average person in Madrid uses 140 litres a day.
sexta-feira, maio 09, 2008
The Geopolitics of Climate Change
quinta-feira, abril 17, 2008
Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.
The Milgram experiment
Our Inherent Capability for Evil
Oil producers must reasonably suppose that, as global warming continues and provokes ever-greater concern, restrictions on demand will grow tighter. Further alternative energy sources are also likely to be developed. So they are likely to perceive high probability of downward pressure on prices in future. The result is a strongly enhanced incentive to extract and sell resources now, to whichever country will buy them, and then to invest the proceeds. Producers may even step up production.
Professor Sinn argues persuasively that this “green paradox” may help to explain why, despite the Kyoto climate-change treaty and the environmental efforts of many countries, fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions have continued to climb unchecked. He makes the case that, unless energy-consuming nations can form a largely loophole-free united front – which seems improbable – this paradox will make a nonsense of policies such as emissions trading.
Worse, the report highlights how the unstable politics of oil-producing states in the Middle East and South America reinforces their rationale to keep pumping oil for whatever price the market sets. Since these nations’ rulers cannot be sure of staying in power indefinitely, they face an extra incentive to cash in while they can.
Why oil rulers won’t go green
Canada's boreal forest, characterized by the predominance of conifers like pine and spruce, stretches in a vast curve across the country below the Arctic, from the Yukon territory in the northwest to the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland.
A 1993 study estimated it stored about 186 billion tonnes of carbon, equal to about 27 times what the world produces from burning fossil fuel each year.
Two-thirds of the carbon is stored in the forest's soil, which decays when the tree cover is removed.
Greenpeace says the carbon released as trees are harvested contributes to climate change. That, in turn, threatens the northern forest with problems such as insect outbreaks and increased forest fires that destroy more trees.
The global warming, which is often most apparent in the far north, also allows the permafrost to melt, releasing still more greenhouse gases.
Canada logging may ignite 'carbon bomb'
segunda-feira, abril 07, 2008
Most SRES scenarios also predict a rapid decline in energy intensity (exceeding 1.0% per year), which may be neither realistic nor achievable. To achieve a century-long 1.0% annual rate of energy intensity decline requires very large increases in energy efficiency. Even with a substantial policy effort this would be very difficult to achieve. Only about 20% (plusminus 10%) of global energy intensity decline can be expected from sectoral shifts in economic activity, such as from manufacturing to services. The rest must come from improved efficiencies in individual energy-using sectors, requiring either technology changes or new technologies.
One reason for the current rise in global energy and carbon intensities is the economic transformation taking place in the developing world, especially in China and India. As development proceeds, rural populations move to high-rise buildings that consume energy and energy-intensive materials. This process is likely to continue, not only in these countries, but all over populous south Asia, and eventually Africa, until well beyond 2050. An analysis of China's carbon-dioxide emissions estimated them to be rising at a rate of between 11% and 13% per year for the period 2000–2010, which is far higher than that assumed by the SRES scenarios for Asian emissions (2.6–4.8% per year).
Because of these dramatic changes in the global economy it is likely that we have only just begun to experience the surge in global energy use associated with ongoing rapid development. Such trends are in stark contrast to the optimism of the near-future IPCC projections and seem unlikely to alter course soon. The world is on a development and energy path that will bring with it a surge in carbon-dioxide emissions — a surge that can only end with a transformation of global energy systems. We believe such technological transformation will take many decades to complete, even if we start taking far more aggressive action on energy technology innovation today. A range of 'built-in' emissions reductions (blue) in the scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Total cumulative emissions to 2100 associated with a frozen-technology baseline are shown for: six individual scenarios, the means of these scenarios (n=6), and for all 35 IPCC scenarios, and the median of the scenario set (AR4). Additional reductions will have to be achieved by climate policy (red), assuming carbon-dioxide stabilization at about 500 parts per million (p.p.m.), leaving allowed emissions for this stabilization target (yellow).
Dangerous assumptions (Nature article)
WIGLEY: Well, in the past, energy efficiency has improved. If you look at the records over the last number of decades, even over the last century, in terms of the emissions of carbon dioxide per unit of energy, we're improving the way we produce energy. But what is a little alarming is that if you look at just the last five to ten years, those changes have gone in the other direction. Now, if you make assumptions that the changes that occurred up to say the year 2000 are going to continue in the future, and you look at what's happened over the last five years or so, that change towards greater efficiency has not continued. Dangerous IPCC Assumptions (Insnet)
Dangerous Assumptions (Living on Earth)
Every day, it becomes more difficult to blame George Bush, Dick Cheney and comrades for their seven years (and counting) of crimes, corruption and destruction of our political values. Think about it this way: if you were a high government official and watched as -- all in a couple of weeks time -- it is revealed, right out in the open, that you suspended the Fourth Amendment, authorized torture, proclaimed yourself empowered to break the law, and sent the nation's top law enforcement officer to lie blatantly about how and why the 9/11 attacks happened so that you could acquire still more unchecked spying power and get rid of lawsuits that would expose what you did, and the political press in this country basically ignored all of that and blathered on about Obama's bowling score and how he eats chocolate, wouldn't you also conclude that you could do anything you want, without limits, and know there will be no consequences? What would be the incentive to stop doing all of that?
terça-feira, março 25, 2008
This image, we now know, is a fragile one. As our report illustrates, Ireland faces serious threats if climate change continues unabated. Greens will fade to brown. Soft rains will turn harsh. Bog bursts – when masses of peat slide down slope like a California mudslide – will be more common. Irish soils will no longer yield a bounty of potatoes. If climate change continues unchecked, the look and feel of Ireland will change.
Our Project intends to describe, in rich detail, both the environmental and cultural impacts of climate change in Ireland. Our science team is affiliated with ICARUS (the Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units), based on the campus at NUI Maynooth. The cultural insights come from poets, musicians, farmers, anglers and many others. We believe this hybrid approach is unique in the climate community.
Our hope is to reach the 80 million Irish living all across the globe (only five million of whom live in Ireland). If we succeed at our task, more of the Irish will understand the urgency of the climate crisis. More of them will understand that we can all play a role in helping stave off the worst effects of climate change.
Those of us who wish to keep Ireland green have a role to play, no matter where we live. It starts by making greener energy choices – at home, at work, in our communities and when we vote.
Download the report.
segunda-feira, março 24, 2008
Lembrar os números sem esquecer o inquantificável
sexta-feira, fevereiro 29, 2008
segunda-feira, fevereiro 18, 2008
Água e "manchas quentes"
quarta-feira, janeiro 23, 2008
This slow-motion collapse of the planet leaves us with the bitterest kind of awakening. For parents of young children, it provokes the most intimate kind of despair. For people whose happiness derives from a fulfilling sense of achievement in their work, this realization feels like a sudden, violent mugging. For those who feel a debt to all those past generations who worked so hard to create this civilization we have enjoyed, it feels like the ultimate trashing of history and tradition. For anyone anywhere who truly absorbs this reality and all that it implies, this realization leads into the deepest center of grief.
There needs to be another kind of thinking that centers neither on the profoundly dishonest denial promoted by the coal and oil industries, nor the misleading optimism of the environmental movement, nor the fatalistic indifference of the majority of people who just don't want to know.
There needs to be a vision that accommodates both the truth of the coming cataclysm and the profoundly human need for a sense of future.
That vision needs to be framed by the truly global nature of the problem. It starts with the recognition that this historical era of nationalism has become a stubborn, increasingly toxic impediment to our collective future. We all need to begin to think of ourselves -- now -- as citizens of one profoundly distressed planet.
I think that understanding involves a recognition that a clean environment is about far more than endangered species, toxic substances, and the "dead zones" that keep spreading off our shorelines. A clean environment is a basic human right. And without it, all the other human rights for which we have worked so hard will end up as grotesque caricatures of some of our deepest aspirations.