MAY LOVE PREVAIL ON EARTH
March 4, 2004
The Green Holocaust Files #19: World Hanging in The Balance - Precariously!
Once again I've managed to make time to prepare another compilation for you my friends from around the world.
I hope you'll be able to make time to read it or at least give it a good look. Our future depends on good information and right, courageous and immediate action...
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
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"The debate about whether or not there is a global-warming signal here and now is over, at least for rational people."
- Tim Barnett, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Worthy of Your Attention
PEOPLE'S RATIFICATION OF THE KYOTO GLOBAL WARMING TREATY http://www.kyotoandbeyond.org/petition.html
The Peoples Ratification is a nationwide petition drive designed to give thousands of citizens a chance to respond in a way that we now cannot. We are telling our local officials, our nations leaders and the international community that we do not go along with the Washington party line. We want to set a good example and be responsible stewards. We care deeply about the future viability of the planet. And, we are ready to commit ourselves to a clean energy future. - IF YOU ARE A U.S. CITIZEN YOU MAY WANT TO GO THERE, READ AND SIGN THIS PETITION... Excellent initiative but only 12,000 signatures so far for a population of nearly 300 million people!
Help protect whales from deadly sonar! (2 Mar 2005)
Send a message to the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and to NATO ambassadors, urging their member countries to stop deploying high-powered sonar systems in sensitive whale habitats around the world. (...) Several mass strandings of whales have been linked directly to joint NATO exercises, including strandings in the Canary Islands and along the coast of Greece. There is no dispute that intense bursts of high-powered sonar can and do kill whales. The scientists of the International Whaling Commission have stated that the evidence linking such naval sonar to whale strandings appears "overwhelming." The scientific journal "Nature" has reported that intense, active sonar may kill marine mammals by causing their internal organs to hemorrhage. In the face of this alarming evidence, it's simply cruel and wrong to use high- powered sonar in routine training exercises without taking common-sense steps to protect whales, dolphins and other marine life. That's why a worldwide coalition of environmental groups, including NRDC, is pressuring NATO and its member countries to stop inflicting this needless suffering on marine mammals. Please make your own voice heard in defense of whales right now. -- Recommended by "Mary Hession" firstname.lastname@example.org>
1. TIPPING POINT
2. Please don't back down - Canadians want cleaner cars
3. For the Sake of Our Children
4. Hydro's dirty secret revealed
5. A letter from oil exploration insider
6. What will we eat as the oil runs out?
7. The Man Is Right
8. LEARNING FROM SWEDEN
9. DV "art-mentary" exploring Oneness
10. Our seed supply under threat
Brazil Environmentalist Shot Dead (February 24, 2005) http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/29689/story.htm
RIO DE JANEIRO - A Brazilian environmentalist was shot dead in the country's Atlantic rain forest on Tuesday night, only 10 days after a US nun and activist was gunned down in Brazil's Amazon jungle. Dionisio Ribeiro Filho, 59, was shot in the head at the entrance to the Tingua federal reserve, about 19 miles (30 km) from Rio de Janeiro city, after he defended it from poachers and illegal palm tree cutters, police said on Wednesday. His death followed the Feb. 12 killing of prominent US human rights and environmental activist Dorothy Stang as she set up a government peasant farming reserve in the state of Para and defended it from illegal loggers and ranchers. "He had received death threats for some time," said Luis Henrique dos Santos, head of the Tingua reserve and a federal employee. "We are working against illegal palm cutting and this upset a lot of people." President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva launched Brazil's biggest ever crackdown on crime in the Amazon rain forest after Stang's murder caused world outrage at death squads used by illegal loggers and ranchers to invade jungle areas. Stang had received repeated death threats. Brazil's federal environmental agency IBAMA, which operates the Tingua reserve, has asked for federal police protection for its workers in the 96 square-mile (249 sq-km) area of rolling, rain forested hills. "This business of shutting up ecologists and environmentalists with violence, it's not going to stop," said Edson Bedin, head of IBAMA in Rio de Janeiro state. "Threats against agents, workers have become routine." Ribeiro was a member of a non-profit environmental organization that helped set up the park in 1989. He worked to defend it from people harvesting palm trees for heart of palm, a gastronomic delicacy, and trapping tropical birds and animals for illegal sale. Police in Rio de Janeiro state said they would make the hunt for Riberio's killers a priority. Police have found two gunmen and an intermediary suspected of planning and carrying out Stang's killing. They are searching for a rancher who is said to have paid $19,300 for her murder. Brazil has already deforested 97 percent of its Atlantic rainforest, which runs along its coastline and was once a third the size of Brazil's Amazon jungle.
Big Oil Steps Aside in Battle over Arctic (21 February 2005)
Washington - George W. Bush first proposed drilling for oil in a small part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska in 2000, after oil industry experts helped his presidential campaign develop an energy plan. Five years later, he is pushing the proposal again, saying the nation urgently needs to increase domestic production. But if Mr. Bush's drilling plan passes in Congress after what is expected to be a fierce fight, it may prove to be a triumph of politics over geology. Once allied, the administration and the oil industry are now far apart on the issue. The major oil companies are largely uninterested in drilling in the refuge, skeptical about the potential there. Even the plan's most optimistic backers agree that any oil from the refuge would meet only a tiny fraction of America's needs. CLIP
Widespread Arctic warming crosses critical ecological thresholds, scientists warn
New international study suggests effects of climate change may be irreversible - (Kingston, ON) Unprecedented and maybe irreversible effects of Arctic warming, linked to human intervention, have been discovered by a team of international researchers led by Queen's University biologist John Smol and University of Alberta earth scientist Alexander Wolfe.The researchers have found dramatic new evidence of changes in the community composition of freshwater algae, water fleas and insect larvae (the base of most aquatic food webs) in a large new study that covers five circumpolar countries extending halfway around the world and 30 degrees of latitude spanning boreal forest to high arctic tundra ecosystems. (...) The study concludes that it may soon be impossible to find "pristine Arctic environments untouched by climate warming." And since changes in the Arctic are considered bellwethers of what is to come further south, the researchers consider this their most urgent environmental wake-up call to date. CLIP
Bush Team Readying Backdoor to Drill Arctic Refuge (February 24, 2005)
Having been thwarted repeatedly in its effort to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling for oil, the Bush Administration and its Congressional leadership have come up with a plan for a sneak attack on the issue. Rather than holding a straightforward vote on the Senate floor, where strong public opposition halted drilling in the past few years, House and Senate members are quietly planning instead to attach the drilling measure to upcoming budget legislation, where it would be all but impossible to stop (budget bills are exempt from filibuster or extended debate). CLIP
Bush Plans Further Cuts in Forest Protections (March 01, 2005)
Next Monday marks the final day for public comment on a proposed new Bush Administration rule that will restrict public input and environmental review of forest management plans under the National Forest Management Act (NFMA). It will also rescind wildlife protections that were established decades ago under President Reagan. Under the Bush Administration's proposed forest plan rules, it would no longer be necessary to complete an environmental impact statement, a basic requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This is not the first move by the Bush Administration to reduce the role of NEPA in forest policy. Its "Healthy Forest Initiative" eliminated nearly all environmental reviews for logging in the public's forests. CLIP
China Legislature Passes Renewable Energy Bill (01 March 2005)
Non-fossil energy sources, including wind, solar power and thermal power, will make up a bigger share of China's energy resources under a new bill passed yesterday encouraging use of renewable energy. CLIP
White House Budget Slashes Clean Energy (28 February 2005)
African Loggers Begin to See the Light in Forests (27 Feb 2005)
(...) The tall ayous, sapele and other trees which cover this area are part of the rainforests of the Congo Basin, which stretch over some 200 million hectares (494 million acres) and six central African states. Only the Amazon has a larger tropical forest area.The region is home to half of Africa's wild animals, as well as more than known 10,000 plant species.Elephants lumber through the thick vegetation looking for food, gorillas race across forest tracks as vehicles approach and insects chirp ceaselessly in the background. But if current trends continue, about 70 percent of these forests may be gone by 2040, says the global conservation group WWF, which is behind several big projects to protect the area. (...) The leaders of the Congo Basin countries and neighbouring states pledged to promote sustainable forestry at a summit in Brazzaville, Congo Republic, on Feb. 5, but they will need to withstand substantial commercial pressure to succeed. CLIP
Treaty for Mercury Curbs Is Rejected (26 February 2005)
U.S. leads effort to block a binding accord sought by the EU. Instead, 140 countries agree to promote partnerships to limit use and emissions.
More Than a Thousand Whistleblower Cases Dumped (23 February 2005)
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility - Special Counsel dismisses hundreds of disclosures and complaints in past year. Washington, DC - The U.S. Special Counsel has dismissed more than 1,000 whistleblower cases in the past year, according to a letter from the Bush-appointed Special Counsel released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The Special Counsel appears to have taken action in very few, if any, of these cases and has yet to represent a single whistleblower in an employment case. CLIP
U.S. Seeking Looser Environment Laws (02 March 2005)
Washington - The Bush administration is asking Congress to amend three environmental laws to reduce their impact on military ranges after failing to win the changes last year. (...) Since 2002, the Bush administration has sought more flexibility in complying with environmental laws, claiming the restrictions are compromising training and readiness. Congress initially rejected most of the Pentagon request after investigators found little to support those claims. However, it did temporarily waive a law protecting migratory birds and eased restrictions for land conservation and transfer of surplus property in 2002. A year later, Congress amended the Endangered Species Act to require that less land be set aside for species habitat on military bases. The Marine Mammal Protection Act was also changed to lower the threshold on "harassment" of a marine mammal to allow the Navy greater use of sonar technology.
Renewable Energy Gathers under One Roof, One Vision (March 2) http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story;jsessionid=aiU5CitmEIW_?id=23244
Las Vegas, Nevada - The Power-Gen Renewable energy conference has officially kicked off in the trade show capitol of the world, reflecting renewable energy's increasing push into the mainstream and demonstrating the wide variety of solutions available to accelerate the global shift towards cleaner energy solutions. (...) Many agree the US market has barely even begun to tap into its renewable energy potential but if the growth of ACORE's broad technology conference is any indication, the trend is very promising. CLIP - Check this one! http://www.spheralsolar.com/8_products/2_superflex.asp
White House Budget Slashes Clean Energy (February 28, 2005)
A Look at the Administration's Budget Request for Sustainable Energy Programs in FY2006 - In his most recent State of the Union address, President Bush stated that the United States needed "reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy," and urged Congress to "pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy." However, there is a marked disconnect between the President's words and the funding priorities he laid out in the Fiscal Year 2006 (FY06) budget request he recently submitted to the U.S. Congress. The President's proposed budget calls for significant cuts in renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean air, and climate change related-programs at the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies.
Mayor Is on a Mission to Warm U.S. Cities to the Kyoto Protocol (Feb 22)
(...) Last week, on the day the Kyoto Protocol went into effect, Nickels announced he would lead a campaign to get U.S. cities to adopt its terms, beginning with Seattle. He said his goal was to recruit 140 cities to match the 140 countries that signed the treaty. The mayors of 10 cities, including Los Angeles; Santa Monica; Portland, Ore.; Minneapolis; and Oakland, have signed on. The Kyoto Protocol, the first major international effort to reduce the industrial emissions that many scientists believe are creating a warmer climate, went into effect without the support of the world's biggest polluter. The United States, which produces about one-fourth of the world's heat-trapping exhaust, initially signed the treaty in 1997 but withdrew in 2001. CLIP
The Diesel Opportunity (Feb 24) http://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/globalnetnews-summary/2005-02/msg00091.html
The deadly effects of breathing diesel fumes came into sharp focus this week when the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) released a reportestimating that diesel fumes kill about 21,000 U.S. citizens each syear. Furthermore, diesel fumes cause 27,000 nonfatal heart attacks and 410,000 asthma attacks in U.S. adults each year, plus roughly 12,000 cases of chronic bronchitis, 15,000 hospital admissions, 2.4 million lost-work days, and 14 million restricted activity days. And that is almost certainly not the worst of it. The Clean Air Task Force report cites numerous studies revealing that diesel soot
** degrades the immune system (the system that protects us all from bacteria, viruses and cancers);
** interferes with our hormones, reducing sperm production,masculinizing female rats, altering the development of baby rats(changing their bones, thymus, and nervous systems), modifying their adrenal and reproductive hormones;
** causes serious, permanent impairment of the nervous system in diesel-exposed railroad workers;
** induces allergic reactions, not limited to asthma, causing children to miss thousands upon thousands of school-days -- a primary cause of school dropout, consequent low self-esteem, and subsequent life-failure. CLIP
China passes U.S. as reigning consumerism champion (17 Feb 2005)
Grist SUMMARY: America, for years the world's largest, proudest consumer, has been dethroned. Say hello to China, now the world's most consumingest nation, according to a recent survey by the Earth Policy Institute. China now beats the U.S. in consumption of four out of five basic commodities, including grain, meat, steel, and coal. The fifth, however -- oil -- is still no contest (whew!): The U.S. continues to burn triple what China does in order to power, among other things, cars, of which Americans have almost 10 times more than the Chinese. Unfortunately for consumption patriots out there, the details are pretty grim: China leads in coal consumption by some 40 percent. It used more than twice the steel Americans did in 2003. China noshed 64 million tons of meat in 2004 to the U.S.'s 38 million. Add in the fact that China's 1.3 billion citizens also go through more refrigerators, cell phones, and TVs than do Americans, and this is a dark day indeed.
Canadian government unveils green budget (24 Feb 2005)
Grist SUMMARY: Ottawa -- that's where the Canadian federal government lives, people -- unveiled a budget last week with some $2.4 billion in new environmental spending. At the center of the eco-money is an $805 million Clean Fund that will dole out cash for private-sector projects that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as municipal or private initiatives that produce emissions credits under the Kyoto Protocol. There are also tax incentives for private home retrofitting and renewable-energy generation, along with a host of other green incentives, regulations, and infrastructure investments. Ottawa also says it is considering a program of "feebates," whereby purchasers of gas-guzzling vehicles would pay a fee and buyers of fuel-efficient cars would receive rebates -- a revenue-neutral program that could spur the sale of more eco-friendly autos. Said Mark Rudolph of the Clean Air Renewable Energy Coalition, "This budget is so green it should have been announced on St. Patrick's Day." Nice, eh?
Landmark Agent Orange case goes to federal court (27 Feb 2005)
Grist SUMMARY: Did U.S. chemical companies commit war crimes by producing toxic dioxin-laced herbicide -- known as Agent Orange -- that the U.S. military used to douse more than 2 million Vietnamese and that still lingers on in their environment and food chain? That's the question at the heart of a landmark case that will be heard in a U.S. federal court in New York City. The suit was filed last year against Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and a dozen other companies on behalf of millions of Vietnamese citizens who still live with a horrific array of illnesses and whose children suffer from crippling birth defects. They seek what could be billions for damages and environmental cleanup. The companies say they are indemnified since they were acting on government contracts, and the Justice Department filed a brief on the companies' behalf. The companies also claim that Agent Orange has never been conclusively linked to serious human health problems -- though they paid out $180 million to U.S. soldiers who had been exposed.
Planet Ark : Europe Hydrogen Car Filling Network Feasible-Study (February 25, 2005)
FRANKFURT - Europe could build a network of hydrogen filling stations for next-generation cars for just 3.5 billion euros ($4.6 billion) over the next 15 years -- much less than first thought, a study unveiled on Thursday said.The expense of building up a new distribution system for hydrogen-burning cars that emit only water vapour has often been cited as a potential stumbling stock for the technology that could one day make standard petrol and diesel engines obsolete.But the study commissioned by German industrial gases group Linde and carried out by energy consultant e4tech and Imperial College, London, concluded the cost of building 2,800 hydrogen stations across the continent was manageable."The results of this study are a clear signal to us," Linde President Wolfgang Reitzle said in a statement. "A transition to the hydrogen economy is feasible." CLIP
Mocking Our Dreams - By George Monbiot (14 February 2005)
Climate change exposes progress as a myth.
UN Predicts 9.1 Billion People on Earth by 2050 (25 February 2005)
United Nations - The human race is expected to swell from the current 6.5 billion to 9.1 billion people by 2050, with populations exploding in hungry developing countries and stagnating in rich nations, the United Nations predicted on Thursday. The increase of 2.6 billion people is equivalent to the combined populations of China and India today, according to the UN Population Division's "2004 Revision" report. The growth is projected to be fastest in poor countries already struggling to feed their people. But the overall trend shows a lower rate of growth than during the past 20 to 50 years, confirming previous estimates that the global population is rising but slowly stabilizing. CLIP
Urge Brazil to End the Violence, Protect the Amazon (February 25, 2005)
End the business of shutting up environmentalists with violence, while keeping pledge to reduce deforestation In the Amazon jungles of Brazil's huge and wild Para state, the grabbing of land by fraud and violence - carried out by an informal alliance of loggers, ranchers and businessmen backed by private militias and gunmen - is routine and deadly. Most recently, 73-year-old American nun Dorothy Stang, who had worked in Brazil for decades defending the rights of rural workers and for rainforest conservation, was killed by hired assassins. Stang's death has garnered international attention and forced the Brazilian government to promise to crack down on violence and land grabbing, while reducing Amazon deforestation. Already as much as 20 percent of the Amazon's 1.6 million square miles have been lost to logging, farming and development, an area the size of France, and record clearing has taken place in recent years. The mostly illegal loggers open the doors, moving on after they have exploited what they need. Behind them come ranchers, farmers and settlers, and now soy growers, the stars of Brazil's agricultural export drive. In response to Stang's murder, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has launched Brazil's biggest ever crackdown on crime in the Amazon. Lula has accelerated creation of environmental protection areas and deployed military troops to block the advance of illegal loggers and farmers. Yet this crackdown is certain to meet continued fierce defiance and violent resistance. The government must pursue swift and effective implementation of the reserves, with immediate protection for communities in conflict regions, if they are to be effective. Crucially, what constitutes "a slowdown in Amazon destruction" is yet to be defined. In the past the Brazilian government has asserted that a reduction in the rate of growth of deforestation was a victory. This is disingenuous, as annual total deforestation figures remain dangerously high. Please take action immediately and forward widely: http://forests.org/action/brazil/ Networked by Forests.org, email@example.com
POWERFUL, ELOQUENT WARNING! A MUST READ!
From: "Will Thomas" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: TIPPING POINT by William Thomas
Date: 3 Mar 2005
Excerpted from Convergence Weekly:
by William Thomas
"Now hear this! Space Colony Earth is foundering. All hands report to your emergency stations! Initiate damage control. Secure all carbon-burning devices. Ground all jet traffic now. Turn off all unnecessary lights and machinery. Stop burning wood. Park all non-essential vehicles immediately. This is not a drill."
Out on the fringes of a backwater galaxy, a small space colony orbiting a minor star rushes through the irradiated vacuum of deep space, shedding her magnetics and solar radiation shielding as greenhouse gasses released into an enclosed atmosphere continue cooking a runaway greenhouse.
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently told 114 government representatives that Earth has "already reached the level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere" that could cause the climate to abruptly flip. Rather than causing gradual changes over many centuries, Fortune belatedly reports, "growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less than a decade."
"Climate change is poised to change our pattern of life. But the US president won't listen," says Britain's top science advisor, Sir David King. The UK weather expert points to a doubling of extreme weather events over the past decade, heat waves that killed 23,000 Europeans, floods in Africa, droughts in Asia and the United States, and 300 million people uprooted by natural disastersbefore the Asian Tsunami.
On his return from persuading Putin to sign off on Kyoto, thereby activating its 2012 carbon-reducing deadline, Dr. King warned that when Greenland's ice sheets completely melt this century, the world sea level will rise 20 feet or higher. Because most people live and most farming is conducted along or near coastlines, even a three-foot sea level rise would be catastrophic. "When Antarctica melts it will be another 110 metres," King added.
Thawing quickly, the massive Western Antarctic glaciers are already moving toward the sea three times to eight times faster than before the Great Melting began. "It is happening quicker than we thoughtin some cases the responses have been within months," adds a senior research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The data "clearly indicate previous estimates (of sea-level rise) are being outpaced."
If the warm Gulf Stream is shut down by glacial meltwaters, northern Atlantic coasts will experience a sudden 5° to 8°F cooling. With fuel prices about to double and double again, these regions will face winters twice as cold as the worst winters on record in the past century. Year-round frost would soon finish farming in those areas, while droughts triggered by past shutdowns of the North Atlantic Conveyor could wither "breadbaskets" around the globe.
The last time this happened, between 1300 and 1850 a "Little Ice Age" caused severe agricultural, economic, and political dislocations across a no longer "Greenland", and a Europe inhabited by a fraction of the folks living there now. Another abrupt cooling 8,200 years ago lasted about a century. During the Younger Dryas about 12,700 years ago, average temperatures in the North Atlantic region abruptly plummeted nearly 8° F and remained that way for 1,300 years.
CLOBBERED BY CLATHRATES
Whatever we do, we don't want to melt the clathrates [clay-thrates]. Locked in northern tundra, 400 billion tons of thawing methane ices could soon be released into the atmosphere. Methane gas traps 21-times more heat than CO2.
But computer models predicting an unlivable nightmare for the offspring of all species do not calculate sudden methane releases from melting clathrates concentrated in far northern regions, where global warming is now occurring eight-times faster than in the Lower 48. These elaborate simulations also neglected to factor the melting of hydrates frozen in seabeds off the world's coastlines, which could burp another 2,000 billion tons of methane to the surface.
BEEN THERE DONE THAT
Our plucky planet has survived at least two runaway greenhouse events, one of them just barely. About 55 million years ago, a tremendous methane belch trapped enough sunlight to heat Earth by as much as 13° Fahrenheit, disrupting global climate for more than 100,000 years.
An even bigger global warming hiccup occurred 250 million years ago, when a carbon-clogged atmosphere melted all of Earth's ice and methane. The ensuing "Great Dying" nearly extinguished all life. More than 100 million years passed before ecologies reached their former healthy diversity.
Ward's team found no residues from a comet or asteroid impact. It looks like volcanism and methane releases caused this greenhouse cull.
PARK YOUR PORTABLE VOLCANO
Our chimneys, tailpipes and jet exhausts are emitting carbon dioxide in volcanic quantities. US government geologist John Atcheson says, "According to the U.S. Geological Survey, burning fossil fuels releases more than 150 times the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by volcanoesthe equivalent of nearly 17,000 additional volcanoes the size of Hawaii's Kilauea."
During ice ages atmospheric carbon dioxide falls to around 200 parts per million (ppm). During warm periods, concentrations of this heat-trapping gas zoom to around 270 ppm.
Right now, global readouts show atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at 379 ppm and rising steeply.
All Trekkies know we must reduce atmospheric carbon levels onboard our spaceship immediately. Three-fourths of carbon emissions come from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. The rest come mostly from clearcut logging and industrial processes.
If we don't act right now by parking our vehicles, and turning down furnaces and whatever other greenhouse thermostats each of us can reach, by 2030 it will be too late.
The Extreme Weather Events currently bedeviling wildlife, people and economies around the globe were triggered by an l° F temperatures climb over the last century. As temperatures climb more than another 1° over the next 25 years, food production will sag and water shortages will grip countries like China. If temperatures climb another 3° F, as expected by mid-century we'll need another ark.
Spurred by the sophisticated mass-marketing of rapacious corporations, exploding consumer populations are destroying our spaceship's life support webs as surely as Captain Cook's sailors pulled the spikes from their ship's timbers to trade for the favors of Tahitian vahines ashore. This time around, billions of people will get screwed. But it will not be fun.
Right now, our groaning space colony is carrying 6.4 billion soulsmore than four times our numbers at the start of the 20th century. With 1.7 billion people now at reproductive age, Earth could be accommodating 7 billion people by 2013; 8.9 billion by 2050.
But don't count on it. With as many as 5.5 billion people residing in regions facing catastrophic crop losses, and another 3 billion people facing life-threatening water shortages, America's fundamentalist regime may get their Armageddon after all.
It's our "right" to wreck the planet, says America's oil president. As he rushes to outsource US industry to overseas child sweatshops and Chinese slave labor camps while encouraging massive immigration of exploitable cheap labor at home, Bush bleats that battling climate collapse is not worth one lost American job.
But Apollo Alliance is promoting renewable energy production that will create three million new jobs. "What it would not do is prop up the oil/coal/nuclear regime that makes obscene profits for a few," says Truthout's William Rivers-Pitt.
The US has so far refused to join 160 countries in signing the accord it helped sponsor to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2008-2012. Instead, the most piggish nation on the planet continues to censor its best atmospheric scientists, while trying to sabotage every international attempt to avert climatic calamity.
Despite intense White House pressure, Russia's ratification of Kyoto commits signatories who account for 61% of CO2 emissions to reduce those pesky pollutants to at least 5% below 1990 levels by 2012.
But the EU is already moving quickly. By developing and promoting more-efficient industrial and household appliances, retrofitting older buildings, and setting new efficiency standards that make its industry more competitive, Germany has already lowered its emissions by 9% since 1991and is seeking another 40% reduction by 2020.
The United Kingdom, which has cut emissions by 8% since 1990, aims to reduce them 60% by 2050and is urging the rest of the European Union to do the same. Not content to wait, more than 600 cities worldwide have developed their own plans to reduce record levels of carbon emissions.
The big solutions are equally straightforward: "Stabilize population, reduce consumption and share wealth," says Richard Steiner, a professor and conservation specialist in Alaska. Just $40 billion a yearabout what consumers spend on cosmeticswould provide everyone on Earth with the clean water, sanitation, health care, adequate nutrition and education.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
When we look into our children's eyes, who isn't motivated to "get the lessons" of our own species adolescenceand change? There are no solution shortages, once we change our minds. But what can we do to avert or delay the worst of what's coming?
Yale University Master of forestry and food production, Elysa Hammond suggests we start tackling global warming with our knives and forks:
1. Eat Local. A supermarket uses up to 17 times more petroleum for transporting food than the same meal using local ingredients.
2. Eat Less Meat
More than half the grain grown in the United States is fed to livestock. One calorie of meat energy for humans takes 28 calories of energy to produce.
3. Eat Organic
Organic farming uses no synthetic chemicals and significantly cuts nitrous oxide emissions from soils interacting with chemical fertilizers. Whether emitted by jetliners or factory farms, NOX has 310-times the heat trapping power of CO2.
And remember, every day our cars, vans, SUVs, Hummers, trucks, go-carts, snowmobiles, powerboats, skidoos, motorcycles and planes stay parked is a victory for life.
If Americans join with Europe and more than 100 other Kyoto signatories in reducing carbon emissions to just those first tentative targets, by the end of this century the offspring of all surviving speciesincluding our children's childrenwill gain six precious years to deal with the disaster weve caused.
Our grandchildren might not thank us. But they could survive long enough not to repeat our mistakes.
# # #
The author has served on the environmental front lines for the past 20 years.
For the complete 4,100-word article, including illustrations and references, please visit http://www.willthomas.net/
For commercial reprint rights, please contact William Thomas at email@example.com>.
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Please don't back down - Canadians want cleaner cars
Dear Ministers Emerson and Dion,
I support your efforts to establish new regulations that would improve the fuel efficiency of new vehicles sold in Canada by 25% by 2010.
However, I am concerned about reports that the industry is working to make this initiative voluntary and to substitute real fuel efficiency improvements with "emissions trading" schemes.
Canadians deserve cleaner cars and previous voluntary measures have been ineffective. By making cleaner cars, Canada can help meet our Kyoto commitments, reduce pollution in cities and save consumers money.
Ministers, I know you care deeply about Canadas future. So do I. Improving fuel efficiency standards will enhance the quality of life of all Canadians and set us on a path towards a brighter, healthier future. I urge you to follow through with this critical initiative.
(your name and address automatically added here)
Add your personal comments to the end of the letter:
"I think a mere 25% reduction in car emissions by 2010 is certainly a step in the right direction, but far from enough to make a dent in the imminent global catastrophe unleashed by decades of lax governmental regulations and nearly general laissez-faire. I urge you to consider measures similar to California where despite an acute dependency on private cars, legislators have imposed bold measures favoring zero emission technology and a range of other pollution-cutting measures. Stop being so afraid of Alberta's fossil fuel lobby and do the right thing for all Canadians and all future generations. Take example on Germany and enable Canada to become a proud world leader in the green environment revolution that is the ONLY way to a survivable future for mankind and the millions of other life-forms under our (so far) very inept and shortsighted stewardship.
And sure enough, I guarantee you that our pioneering efforts will soon be emulated around the world not only because it makes plenty of sense, but also because it will be economically profitable, environmentally sustainable and highly beneficial to every single citizen of this great country. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? There is no time left for more fiddling while our planet is being enshrouded in ecosuicidal pollution. So go for it! Set your sight on zero emission technologies, subsidize its development and implementation just as much as you've subsidized the very industries that created this problem in the first place, and please stop perpetuating fossil fuel dependency here and abroad, by all possible means.
Our common future depends on courageous, bold actions NOW. Don't wait for the climate to go completely beserk to do this. Do it NOW!
P.S. For explicit details at to why procrastination is no longer an option, please review the newspaper articles archived at http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2005/GreenHolocaust18.htm
'Global warming real' say new studies (February 18 2005)
Tipping point looms for Earths climate
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org> on February 24
Published in the Winter 2005 issue of EarthLight
For the Sake of Our Children
by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
I have been an environmental advocate for twenty years, and I've been disciplined during that period about being nonpartisan in my approach to this issue. The worst thing that can happen to the environment is if it becomes the province of a single political party. Most of the environmental leaders in our country agree with me. Five years ago, if you asked the leaders of the major environmental groups in America, What's the gravest threat to the global environment?, they would have given you a range of answers: overpopulation, habitat destruction, global warming. Today, they will all tell you one thing: it's George W. Bush. This is the worst environmental president that we have ever had. You simply cannot speak honestly about the environment in any context today without speaking critically about this president. If you go to the Natural Resources Defense Council's web site you will see over 400 major environmental rollbacks that have been promoted by this administration over the last three and half years. It is a concerted, deliberate attempt to eviscerate thirty years of environmental law. It is a stealth attack, one that's been hidden from the public.
We found, in 2003, a memo from Frank Luntz, the president's pollster, to the president saying that if you go through with the evisceration of America's environmental law, you are going to alienate not just Democrats but the Republican rank and file. Eighty-one percent in both parties want clean air, they want stronger environmental laws and they want them strictly enforced. Luntz said that to the president, and he said, if we do this we have to do a stealth attack. He recommended using Orwellian rhetoric to mask this radical agenda: They want to destroy the forest, they call it the Healthy Forest Act, they want to destroy the air they call it the Clear Skies Act. Most insidiously, they have installed the worst, most irresponsible polluters in America, and the lobbyists from those companies, as the heads of virtually all the agencies and sub-secretariats and even Cabinet positions that regulate or oversee our environment. The head of the Forest Service is a timber industry lobbyist who is probably the most rapacious timber industry lobbyist in American history. The head of public lands is a mining industry lobbyist who believes that public lands are unconstitutional. The head of the Air Division at the EPA is a utility lobbyist who has represented the worst polluters in America for twenty years. The head of Superfund is a woman whose former job was advising companies how to evade Superfund. The second in command of EPA is a Monsanto lobbyist - these are not exceptions, these are the rules across the agencies. I think it's a good idea to bring business people into government, to bring that experience and expertise.
These individuals did not enter government service for the purpose of promoting the public interest, but in each of these cases, rather to subvert the very laws that they are now charged with enforcing. We are seeing the impacts of this already. This year, for the first year on record, the EPA announced that the dead zone in Lake Erie - you remember Lake Erie was declared dead prior to Earth Day 1970 - is growing. Our water in this country, according to EPA, is getting dirty for the first time since the Clean Water Act was passed.
The rollbacks from the Bush administration have affected the lives of millions and millions of Americans adversely. Consider just one industry: the coal-burning utilities. One out of every four black children in New York now has asthma. I have three sons who have asthma. We don't know why we have this epidemic of pediatric asthma, but we do know that asthma attacks are caused primarily by two components of air pollution: ozone and particulates. In the Los Angeles Times recently there was a description of a study that's about to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine that shows that even small amounts of ozone pollution do permanent damage to children's lungs. In San Bernardino, for example, ten percent of the children have lungs that are permanently damaged, that will never recover; and that lung injury precipitates in human beings a whole host of other diseases throughout their lifetime.
We know that the principal source of ozone and particulates in our air is coming from 1,100 coal-burning power plants that are burning coal illegally. They were supposed to install controls over fifteen years ago. The Clinton administration was prosecuting 75 of the worst of those plants. But this industry gave $48 million to President Bush during the 2000 campaign, and they've contributed $58 million since. One of the first things that President Bush did when he came to office was to order the Justice Department to drop all 75 of those suits. The Justice Department lawyers were shocked. This has never happened in our history before, where somebody running as a presidential candidate accepts money from a criminal and then lets that criminal off the hook. Many of you remember what happened when President Clinton pardoned Mark Rich and how indignant the press and the public was at that action. But Mark Rich was one person, and he never killed anybody. According to EPA, these 75 plants, just the criminal exceedences from these plants, kill 5,500 Americans every year. After letting these criminals off the hook, the president then went and rewrote the Clean Air Act, illegally we believe. We're suing him, we'll win the suit, but it may take ten years, and in the meantime they'll discharge what they want.
I live in New York State. Most of the fish in New York are now unsafe to eat from mercury contamination. I live two miles from the state of Connecticut; in Connecticut every freshwater fish is now unsafe to eat. Last week, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that in 19 states it is unsafe to regularly eat any freshwater fish, and in 48 states at least some fish are unsafe to eat. The mercury is coming, largely, from those same 1,100 coal-burning power plants. We know a lot about mercury that we didn't know five or ten years ago. We know that one out of every six American women of childbearing years now has so much mercury in her womb that her children are at risk for a grim inventory of diseases: cognitive impairment; mental retardation; autism; blindness; kidney, liver or heart disease. I have so much mercury in my body, I was told by Dr. David Carpenter, who is the national authority on mercury contamination, that if I were a woman of childbearing years and produced a child, that the child would have cognitive impairment, and, he estimated, a permanent IQ loss of five to seven points. There are 630,000 children born in this country every year who have been exposed to dangerous levels of mercury in the womb.
Recognizing this threat to the American public, the Clinton administration reclassified mercury as a hazardous pollutant under the Clean Air Act; that triggered the requirement that those companies remove 90 percent of that mercury within three and a half years. It would have cost, according to EPA, less than one percent of the revenues of those plants for them to do that. That's a great deal for the American people, but it's still billions of dollars for that industry. Eight weeks ago, Bush announced that he was scrapping the Clinton-era rules and substituting, instead, rules that were written by the industry's lobbying firm Latham and Watkins. On their face, they say that they have to clean up, within fifteen years, 50 percent of the mercury. But they've woven so many loopholes into the new rule that they will literally never have to clean up. The chief lobbyist for the firm who wrote it is now the head of the Air Division at EPA.
We are living today in a science fiction nightmare, a world where, because somebody gave money to a politician, our children are brought into a world where the air is too poisonous for them to breathe. This is a world where, because somebody gave money to a politician, my children and the children of millions of other Americans can no longer enjoy the seminal, primal activities of their youth - which is to go fishing with their father or mother and come home and eat the fish. I live two hours south of the Adirondack Mountains. This is the oldest protected wilderness area on the face of the Earth; it's been protected since the 1880s. Today, one-fifth of the lakes in the Adirondacks are sterilized from acid rain which is coming from those same coal-burning power plants, and this president has put the brakes on the statutory requirement that those companies remove the materials that are causing the acid rain.
I flew recently over the coalfields of the Appalachians. I saw something that if the American people could see there would be a revolution in this country. We are cutting down the mountains, literally cutting them down. The coal companies blow off the tops of the mountains, using 2,500 tons of dynamite in West Virginia alone every year. They fire the workers: When my father was fighting strip mining in West Virginia in 1968 there were 114,000 coal miners digging coal out of West Virginia. He told me that strip mining was not only going to destroy the economy of West Virginia in the long term but it was designed to destroy the jobs so that they didn't have to employ union labor. Now, there are only 12,000 miners left to get the same amount of coal. They do it by blowing off the tops of the mountains, and they take that rubble and they dump it into the adjacent river valley. They've already covered up 1,200 miles of our streams. We are destroying, flattening this landscape that is a part of American history. It's the source of our values, our virtues, our character as a people; the landscapes, the mountains where Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone roamed, and we are cutting them to the ground. Of course it's illegal, you cannot take rubble and debris and toxic waste and dump it into a river without a Clean Water Act permit, and the Clean Water Act could never let you get a permit to do that. So we sued. Joe Lovett, the attorney from West Virginia, sued the Bush administration and the Army Corps of Engineers for allowing this practice to happen. We won the lawsuit, and the judge enjoined all mountain top mining. Two days from that victory, the Bush administration rewrote the Clean Water Act to allow mountain top mining to continue forever; not only that, but changed the structure of the act so that anybody can dump rubble and debris simply by getting a rubber stamp permit from the Corps of Engineers.
If you ask the people in the White House who are promoting this legislation, Why are you doing this?, what they'll say is: We have to choose between economic prosperity and environmental protection - that is a false choice. In 100 percent of the situations, good environmental policy is identical to good economic policy. We want to measure our economy based upon how it produces jobs and how it preserves the value of the assets of our community. If, on the other hand, we want to do what the Bush administration has been urging us to do, which is to treat the planet as if it were a business in liquidation, to convert our natural resources to cash as quickly as possible, to have a few years of pollution-based prosperity, we can generate an instantaneous cash flow and the illusion of a prosperous economy. But our children are going to pay for our joy ride. They are going to pay for it with denuded landscapes and poor health and huge cleanup costs that are going to amplify over time and that they are never going to be able to pay. Environmental injury is deficit spending. It's a way of loading the costs of our generation's prosperity onto the backs of our children.
There is no stronger advocate for free-market capitalism than myself. The free market spawns efficiency, and efficiency means the elimination of waste. Waste is pollution, so in a true free-market economy you would eliminate, as nearly as you can, pollution. In a true free-market economy you can't make yourself rich without making your neighbors rich and without enriching your community. Polluters make themselves rich by making everybody else poor. They raise standards of living for themselves by lowering the quality of life for everybody else, and they do that by escaping the discipline of the free market and forcing the public to pay their production cost. You show me a polluter, I'll show you a subsidy. Corporations are externalizing machines; they are constantly trying to figure out a way to avoid their own costs and foist it out on the public.
I'll give you an example. When the coal companies, the utilities, discharge mercury into the air they are avoiding one of the costs of bringing their products to market, which is the cost of properly disposing of a dangerous processed chemical. When they avoid the costs they can out-compete their competitors, they can out-compete gas and oil and wind power. But the costs don't disappear. They go into the fish, they make children sick, they permanently injure children's lungs, they put people out of work, they acidify the lakes in the Adirondacks and they've destroyed the forest cover of the Appalachian Mountains all the way from Georgia up into Quebec. Those impacts impose costs on the rest of us that should be reflected in the price of that product. All of the federal environmental laws are meant to restore free-market capitalism in America. I don't even consider myself an environmentalist anymore. I'm a free marketeer. I go out into the marketplace, I track down the polluters and I say to them, We are going to force you to internalize your costs the same way that you're internalizing your profits. Americans have to understand that there is a huge difference between free-market capitalism which democratizes our country, that brings us prosperity and efficiency, and the kind of corporate crony capitalism which is as antithetical to democracy in America as it is in Nigeria.
I work a lot with farmers trying to fight industrial hog meat production, which is not only one of the primary threats to the American environment but also one of the primary threats to the American worker. It's allowing a few monopolies to control our food supply and to put farmers out of business. Fifteen years ago there were 27,000 independent hog farmers in North Carolina, today there are none. They have been replaced completely by 2,200 hog factories, 1,600 owned or controlled by Smithfield Foods, one large corporation. They produce such huge amounts of waste they have to dispose of it illegally, and so they have to corrupt political officials in order to continue operating.
I gave a speech a group of 1,200 farmers in Clear Lake, Iowa, and I said that I am more frightened of these large multinationals than I am of Osama bin Laden. I got a standing ovation from all the farmers in the room, but I got six months of abuse from the farm bureau. I stand by what I said. It's the same thing that Teddy Roosevelt said, that our country was too strong and too committed to ever be destroyed by a foreign enemy, but our democratic institutions would be subverted by what he called "malefactors of great wealth," who would destroy them from within. Another great Republican, Abraham Lincoln, during the heat of the Civil War in 1863, said, I have the South in front of me, and the bankers behind me and for my country, I fear the bankers more.
From the beginning of American history our greatest political leaders - Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams and Andrew Jackson - have warned America against allowing large corporations to dominate our political systems and our lives. Another Republican, Dwight Eisenhower, the most famous speech he made was warning America against the domination by the military-industrial complex. Franklin Roosevelt said that the domination of our nation by large corporations is the definition of fascism. I have an American Heritage Dictionary, and the definition, if you look up fascism, says, "the domination of government by large corporations driven by right-wing ideology and bellicose nationalism" - that's getting to look pretty familiar. The problem with letting large corporations dominate our government is that it erodes democracy, it erodes our capacity to participate in public life, our capacity for dignity, and it allows these entities to squander resources that belong to our children. But the thing that we've squandered worst of all is our natural heritage: the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, the wildlife, the lands - all these things that make us proud to be American. This administration has taken the conserve out of conservatism. They claim to like the free market, but what they are really embracing is corporate welfare capitalism, socialism for the rich. They claim to love property rights, but only when it's the right of a polluter to use his property to destroy his neighbor's property or to destroy the public property. They claim to like law and order, but they are the first ones to let the large corporations and their corporate contributors violate the law at public expense. They claim to love local control and states' rights, but it's only in those instances when they're taking down the barriers to large corporations.
They claim to embrace Christianity while violating the manifold mandates of Christianity: that we are stewards of the land, and that we are meant to care for nature. They have embraced this Christian heresy of dominion theology, which James Watt was the first to enunciate when he told the Senate, I don't think that there is any point in protecting the public lands because we don't how long the world is going to last before the Lord returns. The woman he mentored for twenty years, Gale Norton, is running the Department of the Interior.
The reason that we protect nature is because it enriches us. It enriches us economically, yes, the base of our economy, and we ignore that at our peril. But it also enriches us aesthetically and recreationally, culturally and historically, and spiritually. Human beings have other appetites besides money, and if we don't feed them we're not going to become the kind of beings that our Creator intended. When we destroy nature we impoverish ourselves, we diminish ourselves and we impoverish our children. We're not protecting those ancient forests in the Pacific Northwest, as Rush Limbaugh loves to say, for the sake of a spotted owl. We are protecting those forests because we believe that the trees have more value to humanity standing than they would have if we cut them down. I'm not fighting for the Hudson for the sake of the shad or the sturgeon or the stripped bass but because I believe my life will be richer; my children, my community will be richer if we live in a world where there are shad and sturgeon and striped bass in the Hudson. Commercial fishing on the Hudson is 350 years old. Many of these people come from Dutch families that learned the same fishing methods that they're using today from the Algonquin Indians during the Dutch colonial period. I want my children to be able to touch them when they come to shore to repair their nets or wait out the tides, and in doing that, connect themselves to New York history and understand that they are part of something larger than themselves. I don't want my children to grow up in a world where it's all Unilever and 400-ton factory trolleys 100 miles offshore strip mining the ocean with no interface with humanity, and where we have no family farmers left in America; where we've driven the final nail into the coffin of Thomas Jefferson's vision of an American democracy rooted in tens of thousands of freeholds owned by family farmers, each with a stake in our democracy. I don't want a world where we've lost touch with the seasons and the tides and the things that connect us to the ten thousand generations of human beings that were here before there were laptops, and that connect us ultimately to God.
I don't believe that nature is God or that we ought to be worshiping it as God, but I do believe that it's the way that God talks to us most clearly. God talks to human beings through many vectors: through each other, through organized religion, through the great books of those religions, through wise people, through art, literature, music and poetry - but nowhere with such clarity, texture, grace and joy as through Creation. We don't know Michelangelo by looking at his biography, we know him by looking at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. We know our Creator best by studying Creation, which all of the religious texts mandate us to do. If you look at all of the great, central epiphany in every religious tradition in mankind's history, the revelation always occurs in the wilderness. Buddha had to go into the wilderness to experience self-realization. Mohamed had to go to the wilderness of Mount Hira in 629 and wrestle an angel in the middle of the night to have the Koran squeezed out of him. Moses had to go onto the wilderness of Mount Sinai to get the Commandments. The Jews had to spend 40 years in the wilderness to purge themselves of the 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Christ had to spend 40 days in the wilderness to discover his divinity. His mentor was John the Baptist, a man of the wilderness who lived in a cave in the Jordan Valley and dressed in the skins of wild animals. All of Christ's parables are taken from nature: I am the vine; you are the branch; The Mustard Seed; the little swallows the scattering, the seeds on fallow ground. He called himself a fisherman, a farmer, a vineyard keeper, a shepherd. That's how he stayed in touch with the people. He was saying things to them that contradicted everything that they had heard from the literate, sophisticated people of their time. They would have dismissed him as a quack but they were able to confirm the wisdom of his parables about the fishes and the birds through their own observations of the natural world. They were able to say: He's not telling us something new, he's simply illuminating something that's very, very old.
When we destroy these things, we're cutting ourselves off from the very things that make us human, that give us a spiritual life. And for these people on Capitol Hill to be saying that they are following the mandate of Christ by liquidating our public assets, what they are really doing is a moral affront to the next generation. That's why we preserve nature. Not for our sake, but for the sake of the future. That obligation is expressed by the term sustainability. All that word means is that God wants us to use the things we've been given, to enrich ourselves, to improve our quality of life, to serve others - but we can't use them up. We can't sell the farm piece by piece in order to pay for the groceries; we can't drain the pond to catch the fish. We can't cut down the mountain to get at the coal. We can live off the interest; we can't go into the capital that belongs to our children.
What you can do: To track the Bush record on the environment, go to http://www.nrdc.org/bushrecord at the website for the Natural Resources Defense Council, where you will also find alerts, updates on victories, and opportunities for action.
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" email@example.com>
Hydro's dirty secret revealed
Public release date: 23-Feb-2005
UK CONTACT - Claire Bowles
New Scientist Press Office, London
US CONTACT Kyre Austin
New Scientist Boston office
CONTRARY to popular belief, hydroelectric power can seriously damage the climate. Proposed changes to the way countries' climate budgets are calculated aim to take greenhouse gas emissions from hydropower reservoirs into account, but some experts worry that they will not go far enough. The green image of hydro power as a benign alternative to fossil fuels is false, says Éric Duchemin, a consultant for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). "Everyone thinks hydro is very clean, but this is not the case," he says. Hydroelectric dams produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, and in some cases produce more of these greenhouse gases than power plants running on fossil fuels. Carbon emissions vary from dam to dam, says Philip Fearnside from Brazil's National Institute for Research in the Amazon in Manaus. "But we do know that there are enough emissions to worry about." In a study to be published in Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Fearnside estimates that in 1990 the greenhouse effect of emissions from the Curuá-Una dam in Para, Brazil, was more than three-and-a-half times what would have been produced by generating the same amount of electricity from oil.
This is because large amounts of carbon tied up in trees and other plants are released when the reservoir is initially flooded and the plants rot. Then after this first pulse of decay, plant matter settling on the reservoir's bottom decomposes without oxygen, resulting in a build-up of dissolved methane. This is released into the atmosphere when water passes through the dam's turbines. Seasonal changes in water depth mean there is a continuous supply of decaying material. In the dry season plants colonise the banks of the reservoir only to be engulfed when the water level rises. For shallow-shelving reservoirs these "drawdown" regions can account for several thousand square kilometres. In effect man-made reservoirs convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into methane. This is significant because methane's effect on global warming is 21 times stronger than carbon dioxide's.
Claiming that hydro projects are net producers of greenhouse gases is not new (New Scientist, 3 June 2000, p 4) but the issue now appears to be climbing up the political agenda. In the next round of IPCC discussions in 2006 the proposed National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Programme, which calculates each country's carbon budget, will include emissions from artificially flooded regions. But these guidelines will only take account of the first 10 years of a dam's operation and only include surface emissions. Methane production will go unchecked because climate scientists cannot agree on how significant this is; it will also vary between dams. But if Fearnside gets his way these full emissions would be included. With the proposed IPCC guidelines, tropical countries that rely heavily on hydroelectricity, such as Brazil, could see their national greenhouse emissions inventories increased by as much as 7 per cent. Colder countries are less affected, he says, because cold conditions will be less favourable for producing greenhouse gases. Despite a decade of research documenting the carbon emissions from man-made reservoirs, hydroelectric power still has an undeserved reputation for mitigating global warming. "I think it is important these emissions are counted," says Fearnside.
Author: DUNCAN GRAHAM-ROWE
This article appears in New Scientist issue: 26 FEBRUARY 2005 http://www.newscientist.com
Also forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Published on 21 Feb 2005
A letter from oil exploration insider
I work for a major international oil company, in the exploration area. Peak oil is a fact we are all on the back side of the bell curve.
While this is true, it might be better to term it the Cheap-Oil Peak. The US/UK/Western Europe are the entities primarily responsible for using up most of the oil prior to the mid-1980s. Around that point, Asia and China got into the mix. As their economies heated up more oil was used. This trend is still in effect.
I followed the link to that Beware of the Peakoil Agenda, which I probably shouldnt have done. The ignorance of most of the world about what we do in oil exploration is amazing. Even the DOE has no idea how or what we really do they are academics, and exist in their own government-funded bubble.
Provided the world can resist pulling the trigger on our debt, and we can resist pissing them all off in unison, we just might be ok for another 10 years, basically rolling along as-is but with higher oil/gas prices. We do have some untapped resources here, but there are some facts that most people do not understand with respect to the exploration industry.
1) We are drilling rig limited we are at full capacity world wide in the offshore rig market, and even the small number of new drilling rigs they are building will not improve that appreciably. No drilling contractor is going to build rigs rapidly ever again not after the disaster of cheap oil in the late 70s and 80s. Assuming oil jumped to $100/bbl tomorrow, little in our industry would change, because the drilling infrastructure has been cannibalized for 20 years
..we are already drilling as fast as we can!
2) We are personnel limited in 1982 there were 1.6 million Americans working in the Oil & Gas sector, and today there are roughly 500,000. Imagine the hue and cry from any other industry at a job loss of well over 70% nationally!! The average age of people like me is 45 years old or older, with a great many facing retirement in the next 10 years. The age bracket between 30 and 45 is basically empty who enters a consolidating, shrinking field intentionally? We simply do not have the available manpower to ramp-up in response to any stimulus - we are currently each doing the work of 2 or more people as we exist today!!
3) The notion that we are sitting on capped wells of oil or gas is utterly ludicrous. We simply do not drill and sit on reserves they must be produced to pay for the enormous expenditures we have in drilling them, or shareholders would evaporate as our bottom lines became nonexistent. Wells are drilled based on the estimated oil price 6-12 months ahead, and that estimate is very bearish due to what happened in the 1980s oil bust. Oil and gas actually move through rock sitting on capped wells must have been invented by some environmental nut-basket, because there is no business or geological sense to it, and smart people follow the money.
4) We are finished with most of the second tier exploration domestically. What we have left in the ground is either uneconomical due to depth, temperature, technology or other. Other includes those wonderful people who NEVER want to see a drilling rig anywhere near them (NIMBY) or in their view. Thus we have been essentially frozen out of the west coast, the east coast, all of Florida and the Arctic frontier. If we were turned loose on all this acreage, it would require well over 36 months for the first drop to get to market. We must find it, delineate it, build a producing structure, and then ship it in states or areas that have no oil transportation or drilling support infrastructure!
5) Many people foolishly believe that higher prices will make the oil as valuable as gold is today. What they fail to realize is this: as liquid energy (oil) prices rise, all associated prices rise! Even if oil sells for $100/bbl, everything built with this $100/bbl oil will experience the same price increases, and likely more. This includes all plastics, steel, transportation and chemicals! We are currently bypassing the drilling of certain wells right now because the cost to get them out of the ground cannot be recovered. If our material costs (what we buy or rent to actually build an oil or gas well) rise with oil prices, many fields will never be produced, as it will always be uneconomical due to the small size of the oil trap.
6) For the most part, the biggest fields have been discovered world wide. What remains is technologically prohibitive (water depth, downhole temperature or sheer depth of the deposit). We are all fighting for the scraps as things exist today, with the exception of the African coast. There, we are fighting for our lives as well as oil. I have personally been shot at during overseas stints, and once held hostage by guerillas as they blew up our rig while we watched. We are not a bunch of sissy-boys in this industry, but we also have wives and children. West African production will never increase appreciably until their governments achieve stability. In other words, West Africa cannot help us in the foreseeable future.
Some numbers for the number bunch to crunch: The average offshore rig cost $24,000 per day to rent in 2003, and today the same 30 year-old-rig costs $40,000 per day to rent due to rig availability. Yes, most of our rigs are 30 or more years old would you rent a cabin on a 30 year-old cruise ship? Yet this is what we drill oil wells with in the new millennium
Multiply that times the average 45 days to drill a second tier oil or gas well, you get $1,800,000 just for renting the drilling rig! No other mining industry or industry I know of has such tremendous up-front costs. The average price for a typical offshore well is around 3.7-4 million dollars. A production platform to bring the oil to is easily in excess of $10 million
.and these prices will escalate with energy costs!
It is not a question of if peak oil has occurred it has! The better question might be when are the crows coming home to roost? When will we begin to actually experience the shortages and the rising prices? I think we might make a decade, if everybody plays nice across the world. But when has that ever happened when something got scarce?
Just wanted to get that off my chest. I have been maligned and spit on by too many people who drive cars and use electricity, and then bitch about prices or claim some kind of Big Oil Conspiracy
. I can tell you that the collective consensus within my business will be let the bastards freeze in the dark when the big wail arises.
Respectfully, (name withheld)
Oil leaps as Opec hints $80 barrel is on the way (04/03/2005)
The price of oil hit a record high yesterday after Opec said that it could cost $80 a barrel in the next two years.
Forwarded by Paul Prior email@example.com>
What will we eat as the oil runs out?
Feasta is planning a major international conference [on "Food Security in an Energy-Scarce World"] to be held on June 23rd, 24th & 25th, 2005, at the Faculty of Agri-Food and the Environment, University College Dublin, Ireland.
The systems that produce the world's food supply are heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Vast amounts of oil and gas are used as raw materials and energy in the manufacture of fertilisers and pesticides, and as cheap and readily available energy at all stages of food production; from planting, irrigation, feeding and harvesting, through to processing, distribution and packaging.
In addition, fossil fuels are essential in the construction and the repair of equipment and infrastructure needed to facilitate this industry, including farm machinery, processing facilities, storage, ships, trucks and roads. The industrial food supply system is one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels and one of the greatest producers of greenhouse gasses.
At Risk From Global Warming
Ironically, the food industry is at serious risk from global warming caused by these greenhouse gases, through the disruption of the predictable climactic cycles on which agriculture depends. But global warming can have the more pronounced and immediate effect of exacerbating existing environmental threats to agriculture, many of which are caused by industrial agriculture itself.
Environmental degradation, water shortages, salination, soil erosion, pests, disease and desertification all pose serious threats to our food supply, and are made worse by climate change. But many of the conventional ways used to overcome these environmental problems further increase the consumption of finite oil and gas reserves. Thus the cycle of oil dependence and environmental degradation continues.
Industrial agriculture and the systems of food supply are also responsible for the erosion of communities throughout the world. This social degradation is compounded by trade rules and policies, by the profit driven mindset of the industry, and by the lack of knowledge of the faults of the current systems and the possibilities of alternatives.
But the globalisation and corporate control that seriously threaten society and the stability of our environment are only possible because cheap energy is used to replace labour and allows the distance between producer and consumer to be extended.
However, this is set to change. Oil output is expected to peak in the next few years and thereafter steadily decline. We have a very poor understanding of how the extreme fluctuations in the availability and cost of both oil and natural gas will affect the global food supply systems, and how they will be able to adapt to the decreasing availability of energy. In the near future environmental threats will combine with energy scarcity to cause significant food shortages and sharp increases in prices - at the very least.
We are about to enter an era where we will have to once again feed the world with limited use of fossil fuels. But do we have enough time, knowledge, money, energy and political power to make this massive transformation to our food systems when they are already threatened by significant environmental stresses and increasing corporate control?
This conference will explore the nature of the threats to world food security, examine our global food supply systems, evaluate the possible solutions to the problems that we face, and will seek to answer a crucial question:
How can the world's population be fed without the extensive use of fossil fuels in the production, processing and distribution of food?
From: "Kathleen Roberts" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: The Man Is Right
Date: 2 Mar 2005
Here's a short rant from Eric Blumrich, of the excellent http://'www.bushflash.com, to his readers:
I'M SICK OF HEARING OF THE DEFEATISM, FOLKS.
I don't wanna hear it, anymore, folks. People have been sending me e-mails, saying "gee- no matter what we do, Bush gets what he wants- no matter how much we protest, blog, write, or lobby, it leads to nothing"
Buck up, folks, and SPARE ME YOUR WHINING.
We are FIGHTING FOR OUR COUNTRY- for a nation of millions, for children, families, condemned to poverty, for seniors and veterans who have been stripped of their benefits, for communities stripped of the most basic of public services. Beyond our own needs, we're fighting for the sanctity of lives, beyond our shores, in hopes that they might be spared the ruin and horrors of war, initiated by a government that claims to act in our name....
Bottom line, folks.
How long did those in South Africa who were struggling against the ruinous policy of Apartheid fight, without their voices being heard? Did they give up? No.
Russians met, in secret, for decades, in opposition to the iron rule of Stalin with NO HOPE of their voices being heard, and thousands went to their deaths- did they give up? No.
When Martin Luther King found his words falling on deaf ears, and when he found himself in the sweltering depths of an Alabama county jail- did he, or his followers give up? No.
I can go on, but you get the idea.
We're only five years into the new American fascism, and it makes me SICK, when I see people throwing up their hands, and saying "what's the use"? Good freaking LORD- the world has looked to us, in times past, as an example, when it came to matters of national liberation. Now that the glove is on the other hand, and we here in the USA are those who are fighting for dignity, justice, and truth, what signal does it send to the rest of the world, when we just give up, and let these bastards have their way?
I remember, back, two years ago, when the first antiwar protests were taking place across the country- I attended every one that I could. Friends said to me: "What's the use- Bush is going to do what he wants- it doesn't matter how many of you get into the streets."
I might very well have children, one day, and I want to be able to look them in the eye, and tell them, that when things went wrong in this country, I did EVERYTHING I COULD to make things right.
So- as I have said before- I will continue to fight, until my dying day. I don't care if the corporate media continues to ignore the facts. I don't care how many elections are stolen. I don't care how how many are arrested, detained, or subjected to corporate media hatchet jobs.
The fate of our world hangs in the balance, and ya know- if Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Lech Walesa, and Vaclav Havel can keep up the good fight, even when the state media doesn't deign to support them, I'd be a pretty sorry individual, if I can't do the same.
It's all about organizing - screw the media. It's all about one person, talking to another, talking to another, and so on, and so on. One at a time - as Gandhi said - "we must become the change we want to see".
MOST INSPIRING! THE WHOLE WORLD SHOULD EMULATE SWEDEN!
Date: 3 Mar 2005
From: "Sheila B. Cole" email@example.com>
Subject: LEARNING FROM SWEDEN
I think you may want to include the first part of this newsletter where Guy Dauncey details how Sweden concretely plans to heal its environment within one generation!! A great model for any country.
Environment and Health Educator
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Date: 01 Mar 2005
From: EcoNews firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: EcoNews, March 2005
ECONEWS #147 - Promoting the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - MARCH 2005
LEARNING FROM SWEDEN
Sweden is a small country, half the size of British Columbia. It is northern and mountainous, much as we are, with around 9 million people. And much as we are, it is a regular free market society.
Here in BC, and Canada as a whole, the environment is often seen as a "special interest" that only needs attention when environmentalists make enough noise or cause enough upset that something has to be done.
Sweden is taking a wholly different approach. In 1999, they established a unanimous national goal that all of Sweden's major environmental problems should be solved within one generation, by the year 2020.
With the BC provincial election coming up, and parties hoping their policies will wow the voters, it's worth knowing what Sweden is doing.
In 1999, the Swedish Parliament gave unanimous approval to 15 national targets. There are interim objectives for each target, regional and local objectives to match, and an Environmental Objectives Council to monitor progress towards the goals.
Progress is charted through with 70 national indicators, which track results and show if the country is heading in the right direction.
The Swedes are aware that implementation takes time, and that it needs cooperation and persistence. The environmental goals are part of a larger goal to become a sustainable society, including the social and economic dimensions.
So what are the fifteen targets? It is worth spelling them out in brief.
1. Climate Change
Sweden, along with other countries, will share this global responsibility. Both energy and carbon taxes are being used, and there's an overall strategy for more efficient energy and transport.
2. Clean Air
So there's no risk to human health, or to animals, plants, or cultural assets.
3. Natural Acidification Only
Acid rain is not to exceed the limits that can be tolerated by soil, water, cultural artefacts and buildings.
4. A Non-Toxic Environment
Sweden has committed to phase out all use of hazardous chemicals by 2020. There is a national strategy to develop non-toxic, resource-efficient, cyclical systems for production.
5. A Protective Ozone Layer
The ozone layer must be replenished, to protect against UV radiation.
6. Safe Radiation Environment
Human health and biological diversity must be protected against the harmful effects of EMF and nuclear radiation. Sweden is phasing out all of its nuclear power plants.
7. Zero Eutrophication
Nutrient levels in soil and water must not adversely affect human health or biological diversity.
8. Flourishing Lakes, Streams
Lakes and watercourses must be ecologically sustainable, their habitats and ecological and water-conserving function preserved, while recreation is safeguarded.
9. Good Quality Groundwater
Must provide a safe and sustainable supply of drinking water and contribute to viable habitats for flora and fauna.
10. A Balanced Marine Environment, with Flourishing Coasts and Archipelagos
The North and Baltic Seas must have sustainable productive capacity, and preserve biological diversity. Coasts and islands must have high biological diversity, and a wealth of recreational, natural and cultural assets.
11. Thriving Wetlands
The ecological and water-conserving function of wetlands must be maintained, and valuable wetlands preserved for the future.
12. Sustainable Forests
The value of forests for biological production must be protected, while biological diversity, cultural heritage and recreational assets are safeguarded.
13. Agricultural Landscape
The value of land for biological and food production must be protected; biological diversity and cultural heritage must be strengthened.
14. A Magnificent Mountain Landscape
The pristine character of the mountains must be largely preserved, with biological diversity, and recreational and cultural value. Particularly valuable areas must be protected.
15. A Good Built Environment
Cities and towns must provide a healthy living environment and contribute to a good regional and global environment. Buildings and amenities must be located and designed with sound environmental principles.
What's remarkable here is the scale of the vision, and the organized commitment to follow through. And yet this is really just good ecological housekeeping.
As long as our political parties continue to think of the environment as just another item on an agenda of competing interests, we will continue down the current path to ecological collapse, as Jared Diamond warns in his new book Collapse, which shows how societies destroy themselves.
As long as we only fight the negatives, we will always be on the retreat against the forces of business and profit. We need to learn from Sweden, and establish a clear, strong, positive intention, honoring the needs of both business and the environment.
More on Econews at http://www.earthfuture.com/econews
Date: 2 Mar 2005
From: Patty-Lynne Herlevi email@example.com>
Subject: DV "art-mentary" exploring Oneness
I have been working on this video project since 1998, but decided to complete it last November. It has morphed on its own into a oneness piece. Here's the press release.
Please get the word out if you can. I worked in the film business for three years as a journalist and I also have written feature comedy scripts. While many filmmakers are trying to break new ground, it has been difficult to break the old structure. We need new cinema and not just the "new age" stuff. Themes are important, but so is the format and structure.
This video is intended for the education market, but will also be available to the general public who wishes to purchase the video. There is no release date at this time.
PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate Release CROW TALES
CONTACT: Patty-Lynne Herlevi firstname.lastname@example.org
One Bird, Many Tales: A Digital Video Symphony of Crow Stories
Imagine if you fell down the proverbial rabbit hole and instead of a white rabbit greeting you, Crow showed up as your guide for the next 28 minutes. In an age that marries animal omens with quantum physics and everything in between, the digital video "art-mentary" Crow Tales promises to transform the usual talking heads documentary to a digital video shamanic experience.
Produced by an all-woman video crew, Crow Tales features stories about crows told by traditional storytellers, musicians, artists, scientists and spiritualists all based in the Seattle area. According to volunteer director-producer, Patty-Lynne Herlevi, who began this project in 1998, but was derailed by the grant process, cites diversity as a theme for Crow Tales.
"Two things that attracted me to crows were their intelligence and their resourcefulness. Despite these positive traits, Crow has been maligned. Yet, it is my belief that all creatures perform an important role in our ecological system. This also brings up the idea of various human races that have been maligned. Because of this, Crow Tales promotes racial diversity."
Crow Tales is a no-budget project, relying heavily on donations from Seattle based businesses and individuals. All the crew members including the director are volunteering their time and equipment. Proceeds raised from royalties earned from this educational video will be donated to the Seattle based Native American theatrical non-profit, Red Eagle Soaring. Crow Tales is being produced to educate people about one species, Crow in hope that people will learn to respect all creatures and live in balance.
Similar to basket weaving, the stories and artwork featured in CT are woven into a video collage. Stories cut into one another, often overlapping in the same manner as Canadian virtuoso Glenn Gould's radio symphonies. In this regard, CT is an "art-mentary" as opposed to a documentary. While the intention is to preserve culture to be passed down to the next generation and beyond, Herlevi plans on revolutionizing the usual talking-head approach to documentary filmmaking. CT blends a multi-dimensional shamanic structure, often found within aboriginal cultures with the oral storytelling tradition. Viewers might feel as if they entered a shamanic journey with Crow as their guide. And they will take away a lesson about oneness.
By understanding one creature through a myriad of stories in which crow is seen as a trickster, an all-knowing benevolent being and a survivor, we can also glean humanity in all its many facets. We too, can learn the lessons of compassion and sustainability. While many creatures have perished due to human negligence, Crow is one of several wild creatures that has survived despite being put to the test. Some might call the Crow heroic, others may call Crow a pest, but the CT crew sees Crow as miraculous and a lot of fun too.
Please contact Patty-Lynne if you wish to see a list of crew and storytellers.
From: Grant Watson email@example.com>
Sent: March 01, 2005
Subject: Our seed supply under threat
There are some disturbing developments in the regulation of our seed supply in Canada, and your help is needed to stop these changes. The official comment period ends March 8.
A coalition of large seed companies and their parent biotechnology companies, under the name of the Seed Sector Review, are recommending changes to the Seed Breeders Rights Act that will:
- give seed companies royalties on saved seed and products derived from that seed (ie: bread)
- create more barriers to small, local seed companies, driving them out of business (or underground)
- Set the stage for the the end of farmers' rights to save their own seed
- Give seed companies higher royalties, longer collection periods, suppressed competition, and powerful new enforcement tools
- Give the farmers nothing but higher costs, reduced choice and increased risks.
Another aspect of this is that the companies who control most of the seed supply at the moment are dropping large numbers of small-market seed varieties. These are the very varieties that BC organic farmers depend on. If these companies are given complete control of our seed supply by these changes, it could have a serious impact on our very ability to grow food. The varieties which Monsanto, et al. want us to use are dependent on chemical inputs to thrive.
The ability of farmers and gardeners to breed and exchange their seeds is a human right which we have enjoyed since humans began planting their own crops. This right is now under threat.
Please take a moment to write to
Plant Breeders' Rights Office, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive, Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
Phone: (613) 225-2342 Fax: (613) 228-6125
and express your views on changes to the Plant Breeders Rights Act proposed by the Seed Sector Review. Thanks.
For more information, see
Neighbours Organic Weekly Buying Clubs
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