Archive for the month “May, 2014”

News update

How Climate Change is Going To Affect India
By Nidhi Jamwal, Yahoo India
A new set of reports by UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change point to the rising incidence of freak weather occurrences, and the very real impact of these on our lives. Of course we’ve all heard of global warming, but here’s how it affects us directly in India, and here’s why you should care.

IPCC reports diluted under political pressure to protect fossil fuel interests
By Nafeez Ahmed, The Guardian
Increasing evidence is emerging that the policy summaries on climate impacts and mitigation by the UN Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were significantly diluted under political pressure from some of the worlds biggest greenhouse gas emitters, including Saudi Arabia, China, Brazil and the United States.

Is Climate Change a Crime Against Humanity?
By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com
Thanks to a grim report in 2013 from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we know that there is now a 95%-100% likelihood that “human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming [of the planet] since the mid-20th century.” We know as well that the warming of the planet thanks to the fossil fuel system we live by and the greenhouse gases it deposits in the atmosphere is already doing real damage to our world.

US Gov’t Slashes California Oil Estimate by Over 95%
By Post Carbon Institute
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has drastically reduced its estimate of recoverable oil in California’s Monterey shale formation from 13.7 billion barrels to just 0.6 billion barrels—a reduction of over 95%. The downgrade puts a question mark over hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and other forms of well stimulation-enabled oil development, which has been touted as the harbingers of a new oil boom.

Addicted to oil
By Dawn Stover, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Instead of looking to scientists, politicians, and economists for ideas about how to address the climate crisis, maybe it’s time to turn to mental health professionals. They’re the experts on why people engage in self-destructive behaviors, and on what can help addicts break these bad habits.

Historic Sino-Russia Deal Bypasses US Dollar
By Farooque Chowdhury, Countercurrents.org
In a symbolic, but historic blow to the hegemony of US dollar, China and Russia have concluded an agreement with far-reaching significance. The deal bypasses US dollar in part of the two emerging powers’ trade. According to the agreement, two financial institutions of the two countries will pay each other in domestic currencies. However, major western news agencies and media outlets have ignored the news.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Parsing 2014
By Tom Whipple, Falls Church News-Press
Within the next few years, we are likely to see drops in conventional production as the pace for exploring and developing new oil fields contracts. On top of the geologic problems, the political situation in several oil producing countries seem likely to get worse before the year is out. We have already lost substantial oil production from Syria, Egypt, Yemen, South Sudan, and Iran.

Nuclear energy not economically viable
From Forbes.com
Nuclear power is no longer an economically viable source of new energy in the United States, the freshly-retired CEO of Exelon, America’s largest producer of nuclear power, has said. And it won’t become economically viable, he said, for the foreseeable future.

News update

India’s growth model is a disaster
Sam Tranum wears many hats. He is a journalist, novelist and teacher. He is an MA in international relations from the University of Chicago and has spent time in India, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and many other parts of the globe teaching, working and researching on energy issues. His latest work, Powerless: India’s Energy Shortage and Its Impact (Sage Publications), paints a frightening picture of the country’s energy ecosystem. In a chat with Business Line, Tranum talks about the book, what’s wrong with India’s energy policies, and more.
From The Hindu Business Line

Can India Go 100 Percent Renewable by 2050?
By Darshan Goswami
In the coming years, India will face seemingly insurmountable challenges to its economy, environment and energy security. To overcome these challenges, India needs to shift to non-polluting sources of energy.

Why the Uttarakhand floods happened
A recent landmark report by an expert committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), set up under the direction of the Supreme Court, makes the connection the mushrooming of hundreds of hydroelectric projects (HEPs) in Uttarakhand, and the devastating floods last year that killed thousands. It is the first independent ‘official’ report acknowledging the destructive nature of hydropower projects and linking them to the floods that raged through Uttarakhand last year. In its report, ‘Assessment of Environmental Degradation and Impact of Hydroelectric Projects during the June 2013 Disaster in Uttarakhand’, the committee recommends the rejection of 23 HEPs in the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basins in Uttarakhand.
From Yahoo India

It’s the End of the World as We Know It . . . and He Feels Fine
New York Times profile of Paul Kingsnorth, founder of The Dark Mountain Project

The Dark Mountain Project was founded in 2009. From the start, it has been difficult to pin down — even for its members. If you ask a representative of the Sierra Club to describe his organization, he will say that it promotes responsible use of the earth’s resources. When you ask Kingsnorth about Dark Mountain, he speaks of mourning, grief and despair. We are living, he says, through the “age of ecocide,” and like a long-dazed widower, we are finally becoming sensible to the magnitude of our loss, which it is our duty to face. Kingsnorth himself arrived at this point about six years ago, after nearly two decades of devoted activism.

Five Questions for IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri
This April, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report on steps the world can take to avoid the worst impacts of future climate change. The report by the panel’s Working Group III was the final interim report before the IPCC’s major Fifth Assessment Report due to be released in October. Yale Environment 360 asked Rajendra K. Pachauri, who has served as IPCC chairman since 2002, five questions about the latest report and about the prospects that the international community will finally take decisive action to address climate change.
From Yale Environment 360

What Does It Mean To “Do Something” About Climate Change?
By Carolyn Baker
When I speak about catastrophic climate change and the likelihood of near-term human extinction, I am often accused to “giving up” or choosing to “do nothing” about climate change. Even more charged for some is the notion of “living in hospice” which I argue is now the unequivocal predicament of our species. The typical rebuttal goes something like, “Instead of contemplating our navels or rolling over and preparing for death, we have to do something about climate change!” Thus, I feel compelled to genuinely ask: What does it mean to actually “do something”?

Let This Earth Day Be The Last
By Wen Stephenson
Fuck Earth Day. No, really. Fuck Earth Day. Not the first one, forty-four years ago, the one of sepia-hued nostalgia, but everything the day has since come to be: the darkest, cruelest, most brutally self-satirizing spectacle of the year. Fuck it. Let it end here. End the dishonesty, the deception. Stop lying to yourselves, and to your children. Stop pretending that the crisis can be “solved,” that the planet can be “saved,” that business more-or-less as usual—what progressives and environmentalists have been doing for forty-odd years and more—is morally or intellectually tenable. Let go of the pretense that “environmentalism” as we know it—virtuous green consumerism, affluent low-carbon localism, head-in-the-sand conservationism, feel-good greenwashed capitalism—comes anywhere near the radical response our situation requires. So, yeah, I’ve had it with Earth Day—and the culture of progressive green denial it represents.
From The Nation

Want to reboot civilization? The knowledge, tools, and seeds we’ll want if disaster strikes
By Annalee Newitz 
When you’re looking down the barrel of a civilization-erasing event, you have to plan for a world where
humanity has lost everything. Canned goods might be nice, but you’d better have brought along a can opener—or know how to make one. In the event that life as we know it is truly upended, the survivors will have to rebuild our civilization. Given everything humanity has learned over the past hundred thousand years, what information should we leave them? And how do we store it so they can actually make use of it? “The apocalypse is just a starting point,” said Lewis Dartnell, an astrophysicist and author of a new book on the subject, “The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch.” “It is going to be a brutal and hard life where everything will be difficult. The question is how to take an optimal route back, without stumbling around in the dark.”
From The Boston Globe

 

 

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