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We need an apartheid-style boycott to save the planet

We need an apartheid-style boycott to save the planet
'The negative impacts of Keystone XL will affect the whole world, our shared world, the only world we have.' Photograph: Sue Ogrocki/AP Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse. No more can it be dismissed as science fiction; we are already feeling the effects. This is why, no matter where you live, it is appalling that the US is debating whether to approve a massive pipeline transporting 830,000 barrels of the world's dirtiest oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. If the negative impacts of the pipeline would affect only Canada and the US, we could say good luck to them. This week in Berlin, scientists and public representatives have been weighing up radical options for curbing emissions contained in the third report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Who can stop it? The taste of "success" in our world gone mad is measured in dollars and francs and rupees and yen. Related:  SustainabilityBig Oil / Carbon - Universities / Governement

Herald food writer bugs out for dinner Between the three of us, a small plate is piled high with the grasshopper bodies. They have been roasted, salted and flavoured with some spicy chipotle, but they are also clearly identifiable as insects with an exoskeleton and, in the case of many, including the first one I grab, little eyes. This is the food source we need to be looking at growing, according to a group of McGill graduate students who won a $1 million prize for offering a solution to help with growing issues around food security. “Insects are the food of the future,” says Jesse Pearlstein, chief financial officer for the collection of students, known as Aspire Food Group. Crickets, river ants, beetles, palm weevils, locusts and numerous other insects are eaten by 2.5 billion people around the world. But, although insects are highly nutritious and sought after as a food that is traditional, celebratory and a delicacy, they are also seasonal and harvested by hand, which makes them an expensive and unreliable food source.

Time for climate scientists to go on strike Late last night Yokohama time, the world’s scientists did once more what they’ve done so many times in the past: issued a thumping big report demonstrating that climate change poses the greatest danger our civilization has ever faced. These regular analyses have been conducted since 1995 under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – by now the papers, indexes, footnotes and drafts would fill the Superdome. They’ve said it with graphs, they’ve said it with tables. They’ve offered color-coded guides to future decades. As one of the lead authors, Princeton scientist Michael Oppenheimer, summed it up at the paper’s release: “We’re all sitting ducks.” They’ve done their job. But if science has worked, political science has failed. So at this point it’s absurd to keep asking the scientific community to churn out more reports. Or, better yet, the scientists could join the rest of us in the growing climate movement - they could come out in the streets.

Food Vision 2014: Innovation, communication, change, sustainability Stephen Daniells and Shane Starling from FoodNavigator and NutraIngredients What is the future of food? Simple communication of complex advances will be crucial, as well as picking up the pace amid a global population boom to feed the world nutritiously and sustainably, according to FoodNavigator and NutraIngredients senior editors. We spoke to the two senior editors of FoodNavigator and NutraIngredients at this year’s Food Vision event in Cannes about some of the key takeaways from this exclusive event that drew in some of the most innovative and knowledgeable visionaries in the field. Bridging gaps Stephen Daniells, senior editor of FoodNavigator-USA and NutraIngredients-USA, said it was important industry looked to bridge the gap between academia and communicate better with consumers. “If you talk about food creativity, consumers kind of respond to that. Simplification of the supply chain and on-pack communication for consumers would be needed, he said. Going local?

Hit the Fossil Fuel Industry Where it Hurts: Science There was another one of those International Panel on Climate Change reports published last weekend. Having already outlined the physical science basis back in September (i.e. it is happening, yes, really, we triple-checked, sorry), and then a report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability at the end of last month (i.e. it’s going to get really shit), we had a third on mitigation (i.e. there’s stuff we can do to stop it being really, really, really shit). WWF’s Leo Hickman summarised the reports neatly with the simple nugget: "Climate change is real. We are to blame. It will get worse if we fail to act. The solutions are available and affordable. Even before this most recent intervention, after the adaption report, activist Bill McKibben, suggested that the time had come for scientists to strike: At this point it’s absurd to keep asking the scientific community to churn out more reports. I like this idea. The fossil fuel industry is often described as anti-science.

One of the most important sustainability-related articles you have never read This may be a big call, but I think one of the most important sustainability-related articles which few people have read is ‘Verification, Validation, and Confirmation of Numerical Models in the Earth Sciences’ by Naomi Oreskes et al (published in Science back in 1994).** Sure it sounds dry, but it usefully considers the increasing use of numerical simulation models in the earth sciences, which is one the most important scientific trends of recent decades. E.g. models developed to evaluate or forecast physical processes such as: predicting the behavior of the climate system in response to increased rising CO2 concentrations; or resource estimation models used to predict petroleum reserves. The paper addresses key issues and principles related to their predictive value, model validity and model verity. Given the increase in the use of these models, and related predictions, we need to understand their validity and value. Validation issues: However, the real kicker is that: Key implications

Conflict of interest The presence of a conflict of interest is independent of the occurrence of impropriety. Therefore, a conflict of interest can be discovered and voluntarily defused before any corruption occurs. A widely used definition is: "A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest."[1] Primary interest refers to the principal goals of the profession or activity, such as the protection of clients, the health of patients, the integrity of research, and the duties of public office. Related to the practice of law[edit] Judicial disqualification, also referred to as recusal, refers to the act of abstaining from participation in an official action such as a court case/legal proceeding due to a conflict of interest of the presiding court official or administrative officer. Generally (unrelated to the practice of law)[edit] Organizational[edit] Types[edit] Examples[edit]

The Top 10 Most Innovative Sustainable Buildings Of 2014 By next year, as much as 48% of new non-residential building construction will be green, according to estimates. Sustainable architecture is no longer rare, and that’s something that’s happened fairly quickly--from 2005 to 2012, the number of new green building designs jumped up 39%. So when there’s an award for the best sustainable architecture, it’s no longer enough to have just a few ad hoc features, like rooftop solar panels or a rainwater collection system. A new roundup of the top 10 current examples of sustainable architecture--selected by the American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment--showcase projects that have a “thoroughly integrated” approach to sustainable design. “This year, we saw a movement towards projects that were very urban, complicated large-scale projects,” says Catherine Gavin, one of the members of the jury. Several of the projects transform old buildings to make them sustainable, rather than starting from scratch.

fossil-fuel subsidies worldwide $544 billion in 2012 The IEA, within the framework of the World Energy Outlook, has been measuring fossil-fuel subsidies in a systematic and regular fashion for more than a decade. Its analysis is aimed at demonstrating the impact of fossil-fuel subsidy removal for energy markets, climate change and government budgets. The IEA’s latest estimates indicate that fossil-fuel consumption subsidies worldwide amounted to $544 billion in 2012, slightly up from 2011 as moderately higher international prices and increased consumption offset some notable progress that is being made to rein in subsidies. Subsidies to oil products represented over half of the total. Since 2009 the IEA has provided ongoing input to the G-20 in support of their commitment to “rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption”. Many countries are now pursuing reforms, but steep economic, political and social hurdles will need to be overcome to realise lasting gains.

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