The real story behind Shell's climate change rhetoric | Environment A man of Ben van Beurden’s power and reputation for blunt speaking is capable of silencing a ballroom packed with his boisterous peers. When the chief executive of Shell rose to address an industry gathering in a London hotel, a respectful hush descended. Van Beurden, 57, rose from a modest background in the Netherlands to the top of a cut-throat, politically fraught sector that rarely finds itself out of the public firing line. Warning the room that the industry had a credibility problem, that it was “aloof” when it came to issues like climate change, he said: “You cannot talk credibly about lowering emissions globally if, for example, you are slow to acknowledge climate change, if you undermine calls for an effective carbon price, and if you always descend into the ‘jobs versus environment’ argument in the public debate.” That speech was a far cry from the usual backslapping fare at the annual event and it put some noses out of joint.
Growing, Growing, Gone: Reaching the Limits The Limits to Growth, released in 1972, has profoundly influenced environmental research and discourse over the past four decades. Allen White of the Tellus Institute talks with Dennis Meadows, one of its co-authors, about the genesis of the report and its lessons for understanding and managing our uncertain and perilous global future. The Limits to Growth report was a project of the Club of Rome. The origins of the Club of Rome can be traced back to a keynote speech by Italian industrialist Aurelio Pecci in 1965 at the first meeting of Adela, an investment partnership of banks and multinational corporations working on development in Latin America. That cluster of individuals soon coalesced into the Club of Rome, which got its name from the location of its formative meeting. Carroll Wilson, another member of the Club of Rome and a senior instructor at MIT, approached Jay Forrester, a pioneer in systems dynamics and a colleague at MIT. Yes. A third edition appeared in 2004. Endnotes 1.
Antarctic Ice Shelf Is A Few Years From Disintegration: NASA By Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The last intact section of one of Antarctica's mammoth ice shelves is weakening fast and will likely disintegrate completely in the next few years, contributing further to rising sea levels, according to a NASA study released on Thursday. The research focused on a remnant of the so-called Larsen B Ice Shelf, which has existed for at least 10,000 years but partially collapsed in 2002. What is left covers about 625 square miles (1,600 square km), about half the size of Rhode Island. Antarctica has dozens of ice shelves - massive, glacier-fed floating platforms of ice that hang over the sea at the edge of the continent's coast line. The largest is roughly the size of France. Larsen B is located in the Antarctic Peninsula, which extends toward the southern tip of South America and is one of two principal areas of the continent where scientists have documented the thinning of such ice formations. The U.N.
Climate change is far from the only cause of a rapid rise disasters | Doug McNeall | Environment A recent World Meteorological Organisation report described the frightening increase in weather and climate related disasters that occurred over the last four decades. Floods became more frequent and costly, hurricanes caused more damage. Drought killed hundreds of thousands and blighted the lives of millions, and heat waves emerged as a new threat. A casual reader of the resulting Guardian story might be forgiven for thinking that the rapid rise in disasters was due solely to climate change, but it had as much to do with a rapidly changing human world as it did changes in the weather. What’s more, ignoring the contribution of changes in human systems could hamper efforts to blunt the worst impacts of climate change. Climate change's future impact on us will depend on three things. Since 1970, the global population has nearly doubled. There is no one-to-one mapping between changes in the climate, and changes in climate impact.
India's monsoons: A change in the rain The Western Ghats are a 1,500 kilometre-long ribbon of mountains that run through the southwestern part of India, forming a jagged edge that separates the high Deccan Plateau, which makes up most of the Indian peninsula, from the low-lying coast of the Arabian Sea. As the land heats up during the summer, it pulls in a mighty body of cold air from the ocean. When this water-laden air hits the Western Ghats, it deposits torrents of water over the mountains, drenching the area for six months of every year. UNESCO, which recognised the Western Ghats as a world heritage site in 2012, has listed them as "one of the best examples of the monsoon system on the planet". The mountains moderate the tropical climate of the region, and an overwhelming 245 million people depend on these systems for their water. Every year, the country waits with bated breath to see how the monsoon performs: Its behaviour is emotively referred to as 'good' or 'bad'. A changing land "This has ripple effects. Future changes
Climate change: Big lifestyle changes are the only answer Image copyright PA Media The UK government must tell the public small, easy changes will not be enough to tackle climate change, warn experts. Researchers from Imperial College London say we must eat less meat and dairy, swap cars for bikes, take fewer flights, and ditch gas boilers at home. The report, seen by BBC Panorama, has been prepared for the Committee on Climate Change, which advises ministers how to cut the UK's carbon footprint. It says an upheaval in our lifestyles is the only way to meet targets. The government has passed a law obliging the country to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. It is "going further and faster than any other developed nation to protect the planet for future generations", a government spokesperson told BBC Panorama. But the new report warns major shifts in policy across huge areas of government activity are needed to keep the public onside. "Every bit of policy now needs to be refreshed," he warned in an interview with BBC Panorama. Diet Home heating
New G7 Report Highlights Climate Change and Fragility as a Foreign Policy Priority At the close of a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Lübeck today, ministers announced a stronger collective commitment to tackling climate-related risks in states experiencing situations of fragility. “Climate change is among the most serious challenges facing our world,” the ministers’ final communiqué declared. “It poses a threat to the environment, global security, and economic prosperity. It has the potential to reverse the progress that has been made in the past decades in tackling global poverty. Without adequate mitigation and adaptation efforts, the impacts of rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns heighten the risk of instability and conflict. The G7 are responsible for almost two thirds of global development funding In preparation, an independent consultancy working on behalf of the G7 looked into the relationship between climate change and fragile and conflict-affected states. Stronger Cooperation Needed 7 Compound Risks Photo Credit: Johnson Space Center/NASA.
The best thing a business could do for the environment is shut down | Guardian Sustainable Business Earlier this week Tim Sanderson, a former executive of the fossil fuel giant BP, wrote about the pride he felt for his daughter after her involvement in a climate change protest at Heathrow airport. With 12 others from climate activist group Plane Stupid, Rebecca Sanderson had occupied a runway to highlight the conflict between airport expansion and escalating carbon emissions. Having spent most of his working life in oil exploration, Sanderson said he was an “unlikely apologist” for his daughter’s actions. However, climate change had become a galvanising issue for his family. In our book, Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations, Daniel Nyberg and I explore how businesses and the managers who run them are responding to the climate crisis. For a number of managers, awareness of the environmental destruction that our economic system is exacting poses deep moral and emotional questions. However, many managers noted the need to sometimes stand strong and challenge business assumptions.
Thawing permafrost turns Arctic from carbon sink into carbon emitter, study finds The Arctic is home to vast swathes of permafrost which lock in large amounts of carbon and stop it from being emitted into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. However, new research shows that a warming climate means permafrost is thawing so quickly the region is now a source – as opposed to a sink – of emissions. In summer, vegetation absorbs carbon dioxide, but this is dwarfed by the amount released during winter. We’ll tell you what’s true. From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras. Scientists estimate 1.7 million metric tons of carbon is released annually by permafrost between October through to April. This is almost twice as high as previous estimates and far exceeds the 1 million metric tonnes of carbon sucked up during the growing season. “We’ve known for a while that thawed soils release carbon dioxide during the summer, but we really didn’t realise how much carbon dioxide is being emitted during the snow-covered winter months.”
River flooding to affect 40M people annually by 2030 WRI flood map for Indonesia 20.7 million people are affected by river flooding each year, and the number is expected to more than double by 2030 as population growth, urban expansion, and climate change will increasingly put people at risk. This according to the World Resources Institute (WRI), who recently released the Aqueduct Global Flood Analyzer, an online tool to help public, private, and corporate entities understand flooding potential and develop risk reduction and mitigation strategies. 56% of people at risk of being impacted by river flooding live in just three countries: India, Bangladesh, and China. These combined with the next 12 largest impacted populations—in Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Brazil, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Cambodia—account for 80% of the people at risk world-wide. According to WRI, an average of $96 billion in global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is exposed to river flooding each year.
World heritage forests burn as global tragedy unfolds in Tasmania | Environment A global tragedy is unfolding in Tasmania. World heritage forests are burning; 1,000-year-old trees and the hoary peat beneath are reduced to char. Fires have already taken stands of king billy and pencil pine – the last remaining fragments of an ecosystem that once spread across the supercontinent of Gondwana. Pockets of Australia’s only winter deciduous tree, the beloved nothofagus – whose direct kin shade the sides of the South American Andes – are now just a wind change away from eternity. Unlike Australia’s eucalyptus forests, which use fire to regenerate, these plants have not evolved to live within the natural cycle of conflagration and renewal. If burned, they die. To avoid this fate, they grow high up on the central plateau where it is too wet for the flames to take hold. While these events have occurred in the past, says David Bowman, a professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania, they were extremely rare, happening perhaps once in a millennium.
Why you should go animal-free: 18 arguments for eating meat debunked | Environment Whether you are concerned about your health, the environment or animal welfare, scientific evidence is piling up that meat-free diets are best. Millions of people in wealthy nations are already cutting back on animal products. Of course livestock farmers and meat lovers are unsurprisingly fighting back and it can get confusing. Are avocados really worse than beef? What about bee-massacring almond production? The coronavirus pandemic has added another ingredient to that mix. Food is also a vital part of our culture, while the affordability of food is an issue of social justice. First, the over-consumption of meat is causing an epidemic of disease, with about $285bn spent every year around the world treating illness caused by eating red meat alone. So what about all those arguments in favour of meat-eating and against vegan diets? Meaty mattersClaim: Grass-fed beef is low carbon This is true only when compared to intensively-reared beef linked to forest destruction. There’s more. It’s not.
Vanuatu's president blames climate change for extreme weather The president of Vanuatu says climate change is contributing to more extreme weather conditions and cyclone seasons, after cyclone Pam ripped through the island nation. The damage from the category five storm to the island nation has been extensive, and is still being assessed as aid workers scrambled to get to affected areas on Monday morning. The official death toll remains at six, with many more injured, and is expected to rise as communication begins to be restored. Vanuatu’s president, Baldwin Lonsdale, spoke at a United Nations world conference in Sendai, Japan, on Monday, and said the storm was a major setback for the people, virtually wiping out Vanuatu’s development. “This is a very devastating cyclone … I term it a monster that has hit Vanuatu,” he said. “It is a setback for the government and for the people of Vanuatu … All the development that has taken place has been wiped out.” He said the cyclone seasons that the nation had experienced were directly linked to climate change.