International News

Brazil's 'chainsaw queen' appointed new agriculture minister

Guardian - 3 hours 52 min ago

In a controversial move, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has appointed agribusiness advocate Kátia Abreu as the country’s new agriculture minister

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has stirred up the wrath of environmentalists by appointing a controversial advocate of agribusiness and weaker forest conservation as her new agriculture minister.

Kátia Abreu, who has been nicknamed the “chainsaw queen” by her enemies, is included in a new cabinet that rewards political allies who supported Rousseff in her recent narrow re-election victory.

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Categories: International News

Why Not? Christmas Eve is a Great Time to Debate the Existence of God.

Climate Crocks - 7 hours 30 min ago
And a funny one. For the record, I don’t think I’d be welcome in either camp, because, like Groucho, I couldn’t belong to any club that would have me as a member. Happy Holidays, whatever your persuasion.Filed under: Crock of the Week
Categories: International News

Surprising Stats about Greenhouse Gases

Climate Crocks - 10 hours 19 min ago
Rocky Mountain Institute: Christmas is just a few days away, and with it, also TBS’s annual marathon of A Christmas Story. Readers of a certain generation will remember it as the classic movie from 1983 in which Ralphie Parker, the central character, pines for an airsoft Red Ryder BB gun, only to be rebuffed, “You’ll […]
Categories: International News

The Keystone Fixation

Climate Crocks - 10 hours 29 min ago
A mystery. And a clue. Dan Farber in Legal Planet: Perseveration is a psychological syndrome where you can’t stop doing something even if the original reason for doing it has vanished.  I’m beginning to wonder if the continuing fervor of Republican support for the project reflects an institutional equivalent of this syndrome.  The economic and political […]
Categories: International News

Wall brown butterfly 'may be a victim of climate change'

Guardian - 12 hours 33 min ago

Evidence suggests butterfly is dying out because warmer weather is causing generations to hatch out too late in the year to survive, scientists say

The dramatic decline of one of Britain’s butterflies may be because climate change is creating a “lost generation” according to research by Belgian scientists.

The disappearance of the wall brown (Lasiommata megera) from swathes of southern England has mystified conservationists for two decades but new evidence suggests that the butterfly is dying out because warmer weather is causing generations to hatch out too late in the year to survive.

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Categories: International News

2015: the year businesses recognize that climate change is real

Guardian - 12 hours 46 min ago

With new climate policies, civil unrest and supply-chain disruptions in 2014, more businesses are becoming activists

It would be an understatement to say that a lot happened in 2014.

There was pervasive civic and social unrest across the US, bringing issues like racism and justice to the forefront yet again, as well as a historic agreement with China to mitigate carbon emissions. Meanwhile, India enacted a law requiring companies to spend 2% of their net profits on social development, the Philippines suffered yet another big typhoon, and the Ebola crisis killed more than 7,000 people in west Africa. Then there were the media shakeups, including buyouts at the New York Times, a mass exodus at the New Republic and a shift in Bloomberg’s top ranks.

But front and center in my universe as a close – and often vocal – observer and practitioner of corporate social responsibility and sustainability was climate: call it the “water-energy nexus,” the “resources dilemma,” or another variant. But in 2014, every sector of our industrial economy felt the weight of climate change.

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Categories: International News

Bitter winters for Peru's alpaca farmers combating climate change | Sam Jones

Guardian - 13 hours 42 min ago

Stud alpacas and mini-reservoirs to irrigate new crops are helping farmers on Peru’s Altiplano to protect their herds in the face of fluctuating weather

Until last year, the greatest disruption to the lives of the alpaca farmers of Melgar in recent times had been the arrival of the Shining Path guerrillas in the province almost three decades ago to spread their Maoist doctrine, destroy communication masts and kill those they deemed enemies of the revolution.

The winter of 2013, however, brought its own particular problems. Heavy rains soaked the Altiplano, leaving the animals on which thousands of families depend sick and weak. Some female alpacas began to miscarry their crias, while many of the animals that survived eventually succumbed to infections and the cold.

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Categories: International News

The switch to renewable power is a battle we cannot afford to lose | Adnan Z. Amin

Guardian - 15 hours 23 min ago

The Lima climate talks saw a shift towards action with renewable energy taking centre stage, says the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency

Since the final gavel fell at the Lima climate talks earlier this month, discussions have centred on one question: what did the talks actually accomplish?

After two weeks of intense negotiation, governments settled on a draft text that will hopefully lead to a successful global climate deal in Paris next December. While opinions vary regarding the success or failure of the outcome, there is another story emerging outside the negotiation room.

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Categories: International News

Increasingly acidic oceans threaten world's mussel populations

Guardian - 18 hours 46 min ago

Mussel shells could become more brittle as climate change causes acidity of world’s oceans to rise, scientists have warned

The world’s mussel population could be under threat as climate change causes the oceans to become more acidic, scientists have warned.

Mussel shells become more brittle when they are formed in more acidic water, Glasgow University has reported in the Royal Society journal Interface.

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Categories: International News

Australia records biggest emissions drop in a decade as carbon tax kicks in

Guardian - December 23, 2014 - 7:27pm

Greens and conservation group say significant drop in annual emissions shows the carbon price, which was scrapped by the Abbott government, was effective

Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped 1.4% in the second full year of the carbon price – the largest recorded annual decrease in the past decade.

Data released by the Department of the Environment (pdf) showed that emissions in the June quarter rose 0.4%. However, annual emissions to June 2014 dropped 1.4%.

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Categories: International News

Vermont’s Harvard Alumni Club Backs Fossil Fuel Divestment

350.org - December 23, 2014 - 4:26pm

We just got this great news in our inbox here at 350.org: the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont, the alumni organization for the state, has officially backed fossil fuel divestment. They’re the first Harvard alumni club to support the cause, although we’re hoping that many more will follow.

If you’re a alumnus of a college or university, you can play a powerful role in helping your alma mater go fossil free. Now is a great time to get in touch with some fellow classmates, discuss fossil fuel divestment, and send a letter or two to your institution asking them to join the cause. After all, they’re probably asking you for your money — you have every right to ask them what they’re doing with theirs!

Here’s a press release from the club in Vermont:

HARVARD RADCLIFFE CLUB OF VERMONT BECOMES FIRST
HARVARD ALUMNI CLUB TO BACK FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT

The Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont (HRVT) has a special holiday wish for Harvard University: divest now from fossil fuel companies. The Vermont group is the first Harvard alumni club to call for divestment.

Seventy-six percent of members who participated in a survey by the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont backed divestment. The Vermont alumni are endorsing the campaign led by Divest Harvard (divestharvard.com), a coalition of students, faculty, staff and alumni. Members of the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont are calling upon Harvard to “immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies; immediately divest direct holdings (currently $79.5 million) from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies; divest indirect holdings in the top 200 fossil fuel companies within five years and reinvest in socially responsible funds.”

“Harvard scientists have been leaders in warning about the threat of climate change. It’s time for Harvard to listen to its own experts and to redirect its investments toward companies that promote a sustainable environment and away from companies that are hastening climate change and sea level rise—which is an existential threat to Harvard, since much of its campus lies near sea level,” said Al Boright, Harvard Class of 1968, who is president of the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont. The club, which currently has 276 members, includes Vermont residents who have been students at Harvard, Radcliffe (Harvard’s former sister school), and Harvard graduate schools.

The survey by the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont follows a series of information sessions that the group has held on the issues of climate change, sea level rise at Harvard, and divestment. Meetings have included discussions with Harvard alumni Bill McKibben, a Vermont resident and co-founder of 350.org, and Jonathan Lash, Vermont’s former Secretary of Natural Resources who is now president of Hampshire College, which endorses divestment.

Divest Harvard is one of over 400 campaigns at universities across the nation to call for divestment from fossil fuel companies. Over 200 Harvard faculty members have also called upon the university to divest.

“As Harvard alumni, we urge our alma mater to take a leadership role in addressing the greatest crisis of our time,” says HRVT board member Don Hooper, Harvard Class of 1968, and Vermont’s former Secretary of State. “Just as Harvard partially divested from apartheid South Africa a generation ago, Vermont alumni have made it clear that divesting from fossil fuel companies is today’s urgent moral and financial imperative.”

Categories: International News

Some of the things that make 350 so special.

350.org - December 23, 2014 - 2:27pm

Hi everyone,

I think the photos say more than I ever could about what makes 350 so special.

We did some amazing things in 2014, and next year we’ll need to do more. I want us to be ambitious — if you want to see more beautiful work like this in 2015, click here to donate to 350 to make it happen. Any amount makes a difference, and we’ll make sure your donation counts.

With hope,

May

Categories: International News

Overstock.com rejoins controversial lobbying group Alec bucking trend

Guardian - December 23, 2014 - 12:23pm
  • Top tech companies have cut ties with Alec due to climate change stance
  • Retailer says it rejoined group to work on internet sales tax issues

Controversial lobbying group Alec has received an early Christmas gift from Overstock.com. The online retailer recently rejoined the group, bucking a trend among tech companies, many of which have recently disassociated themselves from it.

Alec, the American Legislative Exchange Council, has lost the support of a number of top tech firms in recent months over its stance on climate change. Last week eBay became the latest to cut ties to the group, which lobbies for legislative change at the state level.

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Categories: International News

Let's leave behind the age of fossil fuel. Welcome to Year One of the climate revolution | Rebecca Solnit

Guardian - December 23, 2014 - 12:16pm

Tiny towns standing up to Big Oil. Gigantic marches taking on the future. Technology that works. We started to save ourselves in 2014, but we must make 2015 worth remembering – before it’s too late

It was the most thrilling bureaucratic document I’ve ever seen for just one reason: it was dated the 21st day of the month of Thermidor in the Year Six. Written in sepia ink on heavy paper, it recorded an ordinary land auction in France in what we would call the late summer of 1798. But the extraordinary date signaled that it was created when the French Revolution was still the overarching reality of everyday life and such fundamentals as the distribution of power and the nature of government had been reborn in astonishing ways. The new calendar that renamed 1792 as Year One had, after all, been created to start society all over again.

In that little junk shop on a quiet street in San Francisco, I held a relic from one of the great upheavals of the last millennium. It made me think of a remarkable statement the great feminist fantasy writer Ursula K Le Guin had made only a few weeks earlier. In the course of a speech she gave while accepting a book award, she noted:

We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.

Pic from my back patio of @chevron Richmond refinery. I bet they'll call it "flaring." I call it #roguecorporation pic.twitter.com/d1o250F2jt

We’ve accomplished so much, including breathing better air, reducing the pollution, and building a cleaner environment and cleaner jobs, and reducing our crime rate. Our homicide number is the lowest in 33 years and we became a leading city in the Bay Area for solar installed per capita. We’re a sanctuary city. And we’re defending our homeowners to prevent foreclosures and evictions. And we also got Chevron to pay $114m extra dollars in taxes.

The billionaires and corporations engage in politics all the time, everywhere. They count on us to stay on the sidelines

Everything’s coming together while everything’s falling apart

The Keystone XL pipeline was touted as a model for energy independence and a source of jobs when TransCanada Corp. announced plans to build the 1,700-mile pipeline six years ago. But the crude-oil pipeline’s political and regulatory snarls since then have emboldened resistance to at least 10 other pipeline projects across North America. As a result, six oil and natural-gas pipeline projects in North America costing a proposed $15 billion or more and stretching more than 3,400 miles have been delayed, a tally by the Wall Street Journal shows. At least four other projects with a total investment of $25 billion and more than 5,100 miles in length are facing opposition but haven’t been delayed yet.

[S]itting in that jail cell, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. One that I was only partially aware that I have been carrying for years now. I am ashamed by Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Treaty and our increasingly contemptible position on climate change. If these are the values of our society then I want to be an outlaw in that society.

This is the biggest of pictures, so find your role

You are a citizen of this Earth and your responsibility is not private but public, not individual but social.

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Categories: International News

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