Archived Jul 13 2009
Climate & environment - July 14
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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
The planet's future: Climate change 'will cause civilisation to collapse'
Jonathan Owen, The Independent
An effort on the scale of the Apollo mission that sent men to the Moon is needed if humanity is to have a fighting chance of surviving the ravages of climate change. The stakes are high, as, without sustainable growth, "billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse".
This is the stark warning from the biggest single report to look at the future of the planet – obtained by The Independent on Sunday ahead of its official publication next month. Backed by a diverse range of leading organisations such as Unesco, the World Bank, the US army and the Rockefeller Foundation, the 2009 State of the Future report runs to 6,700 pages and draws on contributions from 2,700 experts around the globe. Its findings are described by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN, as providing "invaluable insights into the future for the United Nations, its member states, and civil society".
The impact of the global recession is a key theme, with researchers warning that global clean energy, food availability, poverty and the growth of democracy around the world are at "risk of getting worse due to the recession". The report adds: "Too many greedy and deceitful decisions led to a world recession and demonstrated the international interdependence of economics and ethics."...
Scientists warn carbon dioxide may soon make coral reefs extinct
Alok Jha, The Guardian
David Attenborough joined scientists today to warn that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is already above the level which condemns coral reefs to extinction, with catastrophic effects for the oceans and the people who depend upon them.
Coral reefs support a quarter of all marine life, including more than 4,000 species of fish. They also provide spawning, nursery, refuge and feeding areas for creatures such as lobsters, crabs, starfish and sea turtles.
This makes them crucial in supporting a healthy marine ecosystem upon which more than a billion people depend for food. Reefs also play a crucial role as natural breakwaters, protecting coastlines from storms.
Attenborough said the world had a "moral responsibility" to save corals. The naturalist was speaking at the Royal Society in London, following a meeting of marine biologists.
..."We've already passed a safe threshold for coral reef ecosystems in terms of climate change; we believe that a safe level for CO2 is below 350 parts per million," said Alex Rogers of the Zoological Society of London and International Programme on the State of the Ocean, who helped organise today's meeting.
(6 July 2009)
UK-French Summit: Declaration on international climate negotiations
Downing St. Staffer
France and the United Kingdom call for international action commensurate with the challenges expressed by IPCC scientists. Limiting the temperature increase to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels is an absolute imperative. The planet’s future is at stake.
We call for an ambitious global agreement not only on cutting CO2 emissions in Copenhagen in December 2009, but also on solidarity with the most vulnerable countries in order to deal with the climate change under way today. The G8 meeting and Major Economies Forum on 8 and 9 July in L’Aquila will be milestones: they will test our determination to grasp the scale of the changes needed to address the challenge of global warming.
France and the United Kingdom ask all the industrialized countries to approve a target of cutting their greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Our two countries also ask for the adoption of an ambitious, credible intermediate target for 2020, in line with what the science is telling us: i.e. a 25-40% reduction compared to 1990. Developed countries’ efforts must be comparable with that of the European Union and consistent with a convergence of each country’s emissions per capita, towards a target of 2 tonnes per capita in 2050. In addition to the efforts to reduce domestic emissions, the fight against deforestation, a priority for both our countries, is an important means of achieving our objectives. We call on the industrialized countries to increase forestry investment.
(7 July 2009)
Sent in by EB contributo billhook, who writes:
This declaration of a joint Anglo-French demand for the global policy framework of "Contraction & Convergence" (C&C) as the basis for viable negotiation is the latest milestone in 20 years of GCI's campaigning on the issue.
Intriguingly, it is also in direct contravention of the longstanding US severe displeasure at any official mention of C&C by any of its allies.
With or without US approval for this declaration, major changes are plainly afoot.