UN Report: Human-Caused Climate Disruption Is “Severe, Pervasive, Irreversible”

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26297-un-report-human-caused-global-warming-is-severe-pervasive-irreversible

By Dahr Jamail
Monday, 22 September 2014

“Why is it . . . that in this world there are men [and women] whose hearts have been so numbed, whose sentiments of honor and delicacy have been so deadened, that one sees them pleased and amused by what degrades and soils them?” – Marquis de Sade

A recently released draft of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Synthesis Report concluded that anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is fully upon us, will dramatically worsen unless something is done immediately – and that something is on the level of a wartime response. The report noted that ACD is “severe … pervasive … irreversible.”

The authors of the draft report used the word “risk” 351 times, “vulnerable” or “vulnerability” 61 times, and “irreversible” 48 times, and added: “The report found that companies and governments had identified reserves of these [fossil] fuels at least four times larger than could safely be burned if global warming is to be kept to a tolerable level.”

The world is already on track to be at least 4 degrees Celsius warmer before the end of the century due to missed carbon targets, while incredibly, worry over short-term costs of investments to address the risks resulting from runaway ACD continues to paralyze any meaningful action toward its mitigation.

As though that’s not enough bad news, the World Meteorological Organization announced in early September that global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reached record levels in 2013, and are rising at their fastest rate since 1984.

The UN also announced that the usual “cushions” against ACD, like forests and oceans absorbing carbon dioxide, are less effective at doing so as carbon dioxide levels continue to ramp up.

Recently, a team of scientists completed a series of flights over California to develop new methods of detecting and measuring carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere for NASA. “Our understanding of methane emissions from many important sources remains poor,” the principal investigator on the study, Ira Leifer, told Truthout: “For example, a recent review of many field studies over the last decade concluded that industrial fossil fuel emissions – the primary methane source – had been underestimated by a factor of approximately two.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26297-un-report-human-caused-global-warming-is-severe-pervasive-irreversible

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on UN Report: Human-Caused Climate Disruption Is “Severe, Pervasive, Irreversible”

Melting Permafrost Endangers Greenland and Releases Harmful, Disease-Causing Bacteria

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-bellini/melting-permafrost-endang_b_5876898.html?utm_hp_ref=green


People love stories. Sometimes they make them dream, sometimes they frighten them, but stories always make people think.

The story I want to tell is the story of a small village in Greenland, Uummannaq. It is situated on a small island in a remote area on the west coast of Greenland, one of the few places in the World where people are still involved in the traditional dog sledding and dogs play a major role in the surviving of the human settlers. In recent years, however, a big change is endangering the ability these populations have developed to adapt and survive in their own environment.
In 2013, for nine months, fishermen and dogs were not able to reach the fishing areas because of the thickness of the ice and they were not able to have fresh food for three months. In the past, the thickness of the ice used to reach the one-meter mark. Now, in the same season, the ice is just a few centimeters thick. In this region people depend on ice, but global warming is making the ice thinner and the villagers are losing their trust in Nature. Today, in order to survive, the hunters are forced to kill their dogs.

The houses built on the permafrost are collapsing because the iced soil is slowly melting. This process is also causing the proliferation of bacteria while Tetanus and Hepatitis B are becoming a serious health problem, an issue that is extremely difficult to manage — mainly because the area is truly remote and the isolation of the population, scattered in small settlements, turns vaccination into a very complicated task. Incredibly enough, people are dying of Tetanus in Greenland.

In Ummannaq, climate change brings along an unprecedented change that involves not only the environment and the ecosystem but also the economy, health, safety, food resources and traditions. Over the past 200 years, since the start of the Industrial Revolution, human beings have gradually disconnected from nature. “Buy and throw away” has become the mantra for the so-called modern lifestyle and it is now embraced by almost 7 billion of people. The problem is that this style does not fit into the circularity of Nature. We are now entering a period of consequences, which we will all experience, and the time has come to change this mantra forever.

In order to become once again the owners of our destiny and future, we must implement a profound transformation of thought: we need to create a new relationship between the power of human beings and the ecological system of our planet. The answer, I believe, could be a more balanced relationship between civilization and the future, a more sustainable connection between the linearity of the economy and the circular processes of nature.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-bellini/melting-permafrost-endang_b_5876898.html?utm_hp_ref=green

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Melting Permafrost Endangers Greenland and Releases Harmful, Disease-Causing Bacteria

Why the Economy is Still Failing Most Americans

From Robert Reich:  http://robertreich.org/post/98668011635

By Robert Reich
Sunday, September 28, 2014

I was in Seattle, Washington, recently, to congratulate union and community organizers who helped Seattle enact the first $15 per hour minimum wage in the country.

Other cities and states should follow Seattle’s example.

Contrary to the dire predictions of opponents, the hike won’t cost Seattle jobs. In fact, it will put more money into the hands of low-wage workers who are likely to spend almost all of it in the vicinity. That will create jobs.

Conservatives believe the economy functions better if the rich have more money and everyone else has less. But they’re wrong. It’s just the opposite.

The real job creators are not CEOs or corporations or wealthy investors. The job creators are members of America’s vast middle class and the poor, whose purchases cause businesses to expand and invest.

America’s wealthy are richer than they’ve ever been. Big corporations are sitting on more cash they know what to do with. Corporate profits are at record levels. CEO pay continues to soar.

But the wealthy aren’t investing in new companies. Between 1980 and 2014, the rate of new business formation in the United States dropped by half, according to a Brookings study released in May.

Corporations aren’t expanding production or investing in research and development. Instead, they’re using their money to buy back their shares of stock.

There’s no reason for them to expand or invest if customers aren’t buying.

Consumer spending has grown more slowly in this recovery than in any previous one because consumers don’t have enough money to buy.

All the economic gains have been going to the top.

Continue reading at:  http://robertreich.org/post/98668011635

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Why the Economy is Still Failing Most Americans