Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Climate Change

The Pentagon sees climate change as an existential threat to human society

Michael Klare writes: We have heard from the scientists on climate change, with their meticulous data on ecosystem degradation and species loss. We have heard from the climate deniers, with their desperate attempts to deploy countervailing arguments. Both groups have mobilized substantial blocs of voters in pivotal countries, producing gridlock in global efforts to slow the pace of global warming. It is time, then, to hear from another group of

The climate chain reaction that threatens the heart of the Pacific

The Washington Post reports: Lined up along the side of their boat, the fishermen hauled a huge, heavy net up from swelling waves. At first, a few small jellyfish emerged, then a piece of plastic. Then net, and more net. Finally, all the way at the bottom: a small thrashing mass of silvery salmon. It was just after dawn at the height of the autumn fishing season, but something was

Antarctica’s ice loss is on the rise

Inside Climate News reports: The floating ice shelves along the edges of West Antarctica that slow the flow of its vast glaciers are under assault from all directions, and they’re becoming more vulnerable to collapse, scientists warn. Warmer water has started creeping in under them, eating away at the ice from below. Warmer air—and, in places, more rain—is melting the surface, creating ponds that can drain deep down and then

Betrayed by the U.S: The Marshall Islands faces the dual threat from nuclear weapons and climate change

The Los Angeles Times reports: Five thousand miles west of Los Angeles and 500 miles north of the equator, on a far-flung spit of white coral sand in the central Pacific, a massive, aging and weathered concrete dome bobs up and down with the tide. Here in the Marshall Islands, Runit Dome holds more than 3.1 million cubic feet — or 35 Olympic-sized swimming pools — of U.S.-produced radioactive soil

The psychology of Greta Thunberg’s climate activism

Scott Koenig writes: In September 2019, Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage activist, excoriated world leaders for their ongoing failure to address the climate crisis. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she said at one point during her speech at the United Nations. Thunberg has been galvanizing public support for climate action since rising to prominence with her school strike about a year ago, and

Paris accord pledges are ‘totally insufficient’ to meet critical climate targets, scientists warn

Inside Climate News reports: While nearly all of the world’s countries have pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, the reductions they’re planning in the short term—over the next 10 years—aren’t nearly enough, leading scientists warn in a new report. Nearly two-thirds of the pledges under the Paris climate agreement are “totally insufficient” to meet critical climate targets, the report by scientists who have been involved in the Intergovernmental Panel

Our fate turns on retiring our dualist view of nature

Philip Goff writes: Since 1980, the temperature of the planet has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius, resulting in unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the acidification of oceans. In 2015, 175 million more people were exposed to heat waves compared with the average for 1986 to 2008, and the number of weather-related disasters from 2007 to 2016 was up by 46 percent compared with the average from 1990

We are running out of unpolluted air

The Atlantic reports: Officials have implored the people of New Delhi to stay inside, indefinitely. Five million children in India’s capital have been handed face masks. Everyone is to keep windows closed. Contrary to the most fundamental medical advice, the city’s chief minister urged residents this week to “avoid outdoor physical activities.” News images seem cut from an apocalyptic outbreak film. One of India’s holiest rivers is covered in toxic

Brazil ignores dire climate impact in holding oil auction

Reuters reports: Brazil is overlooking potentially dire climate change consequences by moving ahead with its biggest auction ever of oil exploration blocs that could release millions of tonnes of carbon emissions, according to environmental activists. The country’s oil regulator ANP estimates that the blocs up for sale on Wednesday in the offshore pre-salt oil area could contain up to 15 billion barrels of oil. Consuming that oil would release up

Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’

The Guardian reports: The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” it states. “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and

The next U.S. president must rejoin the Paris climate accord

Elizabeth Warren writes: President Trump has now fulfilled his disastrous promise to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. The agreement represents decades of work by both Democratic and Republican administrations to achieve a common goal: bringing every country of the world together to tackle the climate crisis, the existential threat of our time. President Trump surprised no one with his decision to withdraw from the agreement.

Bill McKibben on U.S. withdrawal from the Paris accord, California fires, climate refugees & more

  The Trump administration notified the United Nations Monday that it would withdraw the U.S. from the historic Paris climate agreement, starting a year-long process to leave the international pact to fight the climate crisis. The United States — the world’s largest historic greenhouse gas emitter — will become the only country outside the accord. Trump’s announcement of the withdrawal came on the first day possible under the agreement’s rules.

Indigenous people and illegal miners are engaged in a fight that may help decide the future of the planet

Jon Lee Anderson writes: One day in 2014, Belém, a member of Brazil’s Kayapo tribe, went deep into the forest to hunt macaws and parrots. He was helping to prepare for a coming-of-age ceremony, in which young men are given adult names and have their lips pierced. By custom, initiates wear headdresses adorned with tail feathers. Belém, whose Kayapo name is Takaktyx, an honorific form of the word “strong,” was

Fracking banned in UK as government makes major U-turn

The Guardian reports: The government has banned fracking with immediate effect in a watershed moment for environmentalists and community activists. Ministers also warned shale gas companies it would not support future fracking projects, in a crushing blow to companies that had been hoping to capitalise on one of the new frontiers of growth in the fossil fuel industry. The decision draws a line under years of bitter opposition to the

California is on track to miss its climate targets — by a century

MIT Technology Review reports: California has established itself as a global model on climate issues, with Teslas filling its roads and solar farms stretching across its sun-baked Central Valley. The state set up the nation’s first economy-wide cap-and-trade program, put in place aggressive vehicle fuel efficiency standards, and passed a series of ever stricter climate pollution rules. That includes the landmark 2018 law requiring all of the state’s electricity to

Climate change is burning down California

Michael E. Mann writes: Climate change was long regarded as a distant threat, one happening in far off places and future times. That is unfortunately no longer the case. Climate change is here, and it’s burning through California. I spent five years in the San Francisco Bay Area getting my undergraduate degrees in applied math and physics from UC-Berkeley. To see my campus threatened by the fires is heartbreaking. I