We, the undersigned, not only lend our support to those in Copenhagen seeking to push for real and just solutions to climate change, but also demand the following:
The BBC website has a useful summary of arguments made by climate change skeptics, together with the scientific counter arguments.
Here is an excellent BBC infographic about Earth's climate history.
Here is the video that arch climate change denier Anthony Watts tried to ban from YouTube.
Sweden has called on the European Union to take the lead in fighting climate change despite facing the worst economic downturn since the 1930s.
About three-quarters of the world's fossil fuel reserves must be left unused if society is to avoid dangerous climate change, scientists warn.
A clean tech fund that was the brainchild of George W Bush has come under fire for promoting coal power plants in developing countries.
A Northern Ireland minister's decision to block a government advertisement campaign on climate change has led to a call for his removal from office.
Scientific American article on How Meat Contributes to Global Warming.
President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who heads the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to be the next energy secretary, and he has picked veteran regulators from diverse backgrounds to fill three other key jobs on his environmental and climate-change team, Democratic sources said yesterday.
An opinion poll in 11 countries has produced what organisers term a "global mandate" for action on climate change.
Leo Murray has made an excellent short film about climate change which puts things in perspective, view it at Wake Up, Freak Out - Then Get a Grip.
Islands First is an organization working on behalf of the Small Island Developing States to confront the challenges of climate change and the depletion of ocean resources.
Scientists have produced further compelling evidence showing that modern-day climate change is not caused by changes in the Sun's activity.
SCIENTISTS and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine the UN climate change report.
A friend has just got a job working with Plan B, which is a campaign for an end to UK development for the oil industry.
Abu Dhabi has started to build what it says is the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste car-free city.
California is suing the US federal government, in an attempt to force car makers to conform to tougher cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Science advisors to two governments with claims to leadership in global climate politics, Germany and the UK, have told BBC News it is unlikely that levels of greenhouse gases can be kept low enough to avoid a projected temperature rise of 2C (3.6F).
Mass demonstrations have taken place across the UK and worldwide to coincide with UN climate change talks in Bali.
I was at the London event, both for the bike ride from Lincolns Inn Fields to Parliament Square and the march from there to the US Embassy.
Australian Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd has been sworn in as prime minister, following a landslide victory in parliamentary elections last week. Immediately after the ceremony, he signed documents to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, reversing the previous administration's policy.
With Climate Change now a mainstream political issue there are all sorts of "solutions" being proposed and promoted, not only by concerned citizens, scientists, governments and NGOs, but also by corporate interests who are looking for alternative ways to make obscene profits. One "solution" is a switch to biofuels, but it seems like that might be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire. Check out biofuelwatch for the case against biofuel.
Global businesses have called for a legally-binding and comprehensive international deal on climate change.
Tens of thousands of people have staged protests across Australia calling on political parties to take stronger action against climate change.
A United Nations expert has condemned the growing use of crops to produce biofuels as a replacement for petrol as a crime against humanity.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have risen 35% faster than expected since 2000, says a study.
London Indymedia has organised a Climate Camp photo exhibition in the basement studios of The Foundry on Great Eastern Street in London. The exhibition opens at 7pm on Tuesday October 30th.
The UK government has given planning approval for the world's first large-scale wave project off the coast of north Cornwall.
Britons are addicted to cheap flights and confused about the climate impact of flying, according to research. [Although many (at least a dozen) of my friends now refuse to fly on environmental grounds I obviously realise that this is not typical].
It is worrying that the head of the UNFCCC has suggested that rich nations should be absolved from the need to cut emissions if they pay developing countries to do it on their behalf. That would simply destroy any remaining credibility that the organisation might have.
Ryanair has been banned from claiming its flight from London to Brussels is faster and cheaper than making the journey by Eurostar (because it is neither).
The BBC has now reported on the successful establishment of the Camp for Climate Action less than a kilometer outside Heathrow Airport.
I had a great day yesterday down in Harmondsworth, hanging out on the green with a small scale Bicycology stall chatting to locals about the fight to save their historic village from being obliterated by BAA, fixing some kids bikes and encouraging people to attend the upcoming Camp for Climate Action. Apart from one grumpy school teacher people seemed pleased that we were there, and in the evening the customers sitting outside the Five Bells were making requests to the DJ running my 12v bike towed soundsystem (which was also used to allow one particularly supportive resident to get on the mic and make an appeal for all residents to support the climate camp). I left for a while to distribute information in nearby West Drayton but the place seemed like a ghost town (lots of people were probably watching football on telly). When I got back to Harmondsworth, campaigners were outnumbered by police who claimed to be on "routine patrol". I spent a while chatting to some of the officers, particularly the photographer who denied all knowlege of the existence of a "Forward Intelligence Team". I was used to police interest, but some of the villagers were naturally upset. Why should their taxes be used to pay for two dozen officers and numerous police vehicles to disrupt village life and hassle peaceful people, when it was clear that no crime was either being commited or likely to be commited? At the height of the police presence I turned up the volume slightly on the soundsystem and played "Police Officer" by Smiley Culture. All in all it was a very positive day and it bodes well for the success of the camp.
STOP PRESS! The Climate Camp site has been successfully taken! It is about midway between Harmondsworth and Harlington.
I recently returned from the Bicycology summer tour and Big Green Gathering so I have been a bit out of touch with mainstream news. I do plan to attend the Camp for Climate Action at Heathrow, if only for a couple of days, despite all this injunction malarky (unlike the Queen I am not a member of any of the banned organisations).
The Co-operative Bank has teamed up with the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) to produce a climate change tracker which allows you to view the predicted effect of climate change around the UK.
A new scientific study concludes that changes in the Sun's output cannot be causing modern-day climate change.
With the Camp for Climate Action being at (near) Heathrow Airport this year, I was interested to read why Tim Bray suggests that people Avoid Heathrow At All Costs. Many of the problems he talks about are directly related to the fact that it is "insanely huge" - which raises the question of why on earth an expansion is even being considered.
The public believes the effects of global warming on the climate are not as bad as politicians and scientists claim, a poll has suggested.
Some of Europe's biggest train companies are teaming up to compete directly with airlines.
Someone sent me an email about a website dedicated to Global Warming Articles.
I was at the Camp for Climate Action near Drax last year and it was a great success. There will be another one this year from Tuesday 14th August to Tuesday 21st August and the location has just been announced - Heathrow Airport! If you are interested in cycling to the camp then check out the Climate Camp bike ride page.
I was recently made aware of a website called Close The Door which is asking retailers in Cambridge (UK) to not waste energy by leaving their doors open. I have a friend who worked in a shop selling fancy soaps etc and her manager insisted that the door be left wide open all through the winter because it was more "inviting". Hopefully with an increasing awareness of climate change this campaign will succeed in persuading some of these people of the foolishness of their ways.
I mentioned "The Great Global Warming Swindle" this weekend at a meeting in Bristol and someone reffered me to a medialens alert about it - Pure Propaganda - The Great Global Warming Swindle. I posted a link to this in the comments of a blog entry by my friend Steve.
This evening I was with a bunch of friends and a few of them started talking about a Channel 4 programme called The Great Global Warming Swindle. Distubingly they seemed to be taken in by it:-) Fortunately I was able to inform them about the fact that director Martin Durkin's previous Channel 4 extravaganza "Against Nature" had recieved a record number of complaints and Channel 4 had been blasted by the Independent Television Commission for being seriously misleading. In that case Channel 4 was forced to make a humiliating prime time apology and I am amazed that they gave him another bite at the cherry. In fact I contacted Channel 4 about a week ago expressing my concern that they were giving this man the platform again. For more about Martin Durkin see Far Left or Far Right by George Monbiot (an article which mentions the "Against Nature" story).
I just looked at "The Great Global Warming Swindle" forum on the Channel 4 website and was reassured to see that people are already discussing this - see for example a thread called The Great Martin Durkin Swindle.
Carl Wunsch, who was featured on the programme has now said that he feels he was swindled by Martin and that "The movie was terrible propaganda". Indeed he has made it clear that he does in fact believe that human activity is causing a rise in global temperature and is considering making a formal complaint - see the Geoffrey Lean article in the Independent called Climate change: An inconvenient truth... for C4.
For anyone who is interested in the history of climate science and how scientists have come to believe that human-induced warming is almost certainly happening I can recommend again Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming website which accompanies his book of the same title.
The UK has become only the seventh nation in the world to have more than two gigawatts (GW) of operational wind power capacity.
Governments around the world have called for urgent action to tackle climate change, after a major report said mankind was very likely the cause.
The European Commission has unveiled a new energy strategy, calling on member states to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 20% by 2020.
A minister has launched an outspoken attack on the airline industry over its failure to tackle carbon emissions.
Europe's airlines are expected to have limits set on the amount of greenhouse gases they can emit.
Episodes of the "Two Degrees" show have been archived at Climate Radio - you can listen online or download.
I have been hearing lots of silly statements about how much power things like televisions use when on standby. Some people have even told me in all seriousness that they use almost as much power on standby as they do when operating. A couple of months ago a friend of mine used a power meter to measure the consumption of all devices in his house and expressed surprise that it read zero Watts for his television on standby. It didn't surprise me. There is no need for any competently designed standby circuit to use more than a few milliwatts. He did have one device which used a measureable ammount of power on standby but overall the importance of turning things off completely has been wildly exaggerated. Other things are much more important, like turning off lights and using low energy bulbs. An excellent home energy saving video by Eric Prydz has been posted on YouTube.
If you are pissed off with urban 4x4s and want to vent your frustration, try clicking on this.
I just logged in to the IMechE website to renew my subscription (in order to keep my Chartered Engineer status - though I am not currently working in Engineering). The member's weekly poll asked "Does the Stern report go far enough to tackle Climate Change?" and the results are currently:
27% Yes 34% No 39% Too little, too late
The Stern Review's recommendations on curbing climate change need a fresh set of global emissions targets, according to a leading environmental economist.
I just got back from London where I spent the day with some 25,000 other people calling for urgent action on climate change. I got to Lincoln's Inn Fields just after the bike ride left, but joined up with a few other latecomers and managed to catch up with the main bunch of approximately 600 cyclists following the Rinky Dink towards the US Embassy where Seize the Day were scheduled to play. After that I cycled down to St James' Park for forty winks lying in the sun, and then back up to Trafalgar Square to join the crowd which had arrived in several large groups including the one from Grosvenor Square. Many of the day's events were covered by the BBC.
The Climate Change Gang, urgent message - more pirates needed for stewarding the march in London on November 4th.
Remember to check out the latest workface Climate & Energy Report.
As I have mentioned before, November 4th is a Global Climate Campaign global day of action. Campaign against Climate Change have been busy publicising a London march all summer but I have just heard about another plan for the day - check out Workface: BLACKOUT LONDON.
Police have arrested 24 protesters who broke through a security gate at Nottingham East Midlands Airport.
Plane Stupid is calling for a day of action against short haul flights and short haul operators on November 6th during the UN International Climate Talks in Nairobi.
The Gurdian has published the first of three extracts from George Monbiot's new book. This installment deals with the role of Big Tobacco in funding Climate Change denial.
In another article, the Guardian reports that the Royal Society has written to Exxon to demand that the company withdraws support for dozens of groups that have "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence".
CNN reported that a Republican lobbying organisation, which has Exxon as one of its clients, is linked to a spoof YouTube video, which makes fun of Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth". Funny how much skeptical climate propaganda is linked to Exxon isn't it? Way to go CNN!
I went to the RampART screening of Climate Camp footage on Tuesday - lots of people there who had been to the camp - very inspiring. There was a discussion circle focussing on the "Where do we go from here?" question. One of the issues was that the London neighbourhood could have been better organised (not that the people who were there didn't do a fantastic job with what they had). There will be a national post-camp meeting in Manchester on October 14th/15th, and we decided to have another London meeting at RampART on September 26th. The London meeting will be to come up with ideas to feed into the national meeting and to plan a benefit at RampART which will raise money to take to Manchester to help pay off some of shortfall that the camp organisers were left with (which was largely due to the fact that fewer people turned up than expected).
One suggestion of something that could be done in Lodnon involved making links with the Bangladeshi community in light of a demonstration in Bangladesh on August 26th in which 30,000 people tried to storm the local offices of Asia Energy, a London-based mining company that owns the right to 570m tonnes of coal in Bangladesh's Phulbari. Paramilitries fired on the crowd killing six and injuring 300.
Searching for stuff about this just now though, I found that the demonstrators have won a victory - the government has agreed to meet all six of their demands, open-pit mining will not be allowed in the country and Asia Energy will wrap up operations in Bangladesh!
I just got an email about the "Stop Climate Chaos" iCount website.
Yesterday I got home from the Camp for Climate Action near Drax power station. I had cycled there from London via Lancaster with the Bicycology roadshow but left on Wednesday before the main day of action. The camp was excellent in many ways, but it was the day of action which made the headlines.
Conservative leader David Cameron has joined environmental campaigners in calling for a law on climate change to be promised in the next Queen's speech.
The meltdown of Greenland's ice sheet is speeding up, satellite measurements show.
The World Heritage Committee (WHC) looks set to reject a motion calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Just to summarise, as far as I am aware these are the next three big events in the UK climate campaigner's diaries:
For updates on preparations for the July 15th International Day of Direct Action Against Climate Change see rtc.revolt.org.
The BBC Climate Chaos season begins today.
Al Gore has made a movie about climate change called An Inconvenient Truth.
Meanwhile, the "Competetive Enterprise Institute" are emulating the Flat Eath Society by denying all evidence in an effort to support those wealthy people who's wealth depends on the continued exploitation of fossil fuel reserves. Lawrence Lessig comments.
Global temperatures will rise further in the future than previous studies have indicated, according to new research from two scientific teams.
There will probably be a North American Rising Tide group starting up shortly, a move which is hinted at by an article from the Earth First! Journal titled Rising Tide Takes the Helm Mapping Strategies for Climate Justice.
The final program for the upcomming CCC Climate Conference is available. The conference will take place on Saturday June 3rd from 09:45 to 18:00 at the London School of Economics.
The European Commission has questioned the effectiveness of the EU's emissions trading scheme, the cornerstone of its climate change policy.
A scientific report commissioned by the US government has concluded there is "clear evidence" of climate change caused by human activities.
Three quarters of the UK population would support a new law aimed at combating climate change, according to a survey by Friends of the Earth.
World leaders are unlikely to agree a climate change deal limiting the global temperature rise to less than 3C, says the UK government's chief scientist.
Tony Blair has called for a "technological revolution comparable to the internet" to slow global warming. Trouble is he wants to maintain economic growth - why?
ARREST is an EU-25 campaign for A Real Review of EmissionS Trading. The ARREST Declaration begins:
The European Union's Emissions Trading System is deeply flawed. It is to be reviewed by EU policymakers before its second phase which runs from 2008 to 2012 but it needs a fundamental rethink rather than a cursory examination.
US climate scientists have recorded a significant rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, pushing it to a new record level.
The global scientific body on climate change is expected to report soon that emissions from humankind are the only explanation for major changes on Earth.
Option 10 is a grassroots campaign which aims to provide a voice for people who are concerned that the UK Government's energy review should not lead to a return to dangerous nuclear power. I have just signed their petition.
President George W Bush has warned the US must break its "addiction" to oil, in his State of the Union address.
A rapid rise in global temperature 55 million years ago caused major disruption to ocean currents, new research shows.
There is now a Camp for Climate Action website.
Ministers at the climate change conference in Montreal have made a series of breakthroughs in plans to combat global warming.
In the end I did not get to the demo in London on Saturday but about ten thousand others did - well done everyone!
The first United Nations climate conference since the Kyoto agreement came into force in February is due to begin in the Canadian city of Montreal.
Meanwhile, people all over the world are preparing for mass coordinated demonstrations on 2005-12-03 to press for urgent action on climate change. I am planning to join a group of cyclists at the Thames flood barrier at 09:30 on the day and ride in to central London to join the main demo at the assembly point at Lincoln's Inn Fields - see Campaign against Climate Change.
Current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the last 650,000 years.
Green Man Productions in association with Big Picture TV are collaborating on a new feature-length documentary about Climate Change, covering the politics, the science, the campaigns and the inevitable media coverage. Check out the 5 minute short cut.
Plans are being made for a huge "Climate Camp" in the North of England next summer to:
Everyone is invited to get involved and there will be a public meeting on 2006-01-14 in Manchester. Email climatecamp at yahoo dot co dot uk for details.
Britain is facing a shortfall in energy supply in the near future, according to a major report being launched today.
World Energy Outlook 2005 from the IEA makes for contradictory reading. On the one hand it predicts (on the basis of current trends) that by 2030 energy-related CO2 emissions will be 52% higher than today, and admits that this is not sustainable from an environmental perspective. On the other hand the report urges huge investment in the oil and gas industries to meet the projected demand. The problem is always the same, a refusal to question the arbitrary premise that economic growth is a "good thing" which must not be willingly sacrificed under any circumstances even if it leads to a world which is uninhabitable for future generations.
On Wednesday there will be an IMechE prestige lecture at the University of Hertfordshire De Havilland Campus entitled Energy for the Future with speakers from Shell, the New and Renewable Energy Centre and Nuclear Electric & British Energy. Attendance is by free ticket only. I just tried booking but there are no places left.
Climate change conference following on from the G8 Summit started today.
Tony Blair will be chairing a conference on climate change in London on 2005-11-01 at which delegates from the other G8 nations will be present, as well as China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.
The leaders of more than 20 world cities are meeting in London to swap ideas on combating climate change.
Some good news today! The European Commission has recommended that airlines should be included in its carbon dioxide trading scheme.
Juliette Jowit reports on the reaction to comments by Tony Blair earlier this month, with many accusing him of a Kyoto U-turn. Meet outside Downing Street at 18:00 on 2005-09-29 to join others in expressing their anger at this betrayal.
If the rapid growth in air travel is not curbed UK households and businesses will have to cut carbon dioxide emissions to zero, a report has warned.
Higher UK temperatures are causing soils to "exhale" large quantities of carbon dioxide, probably accelerating global warming, scientists report.
With news that the US is to tap into its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, I started wondering whether the recent oil price rises (doubling over the past three years) have caused significant downward pressure on demand - or is demand so inflexible that such price changes have only marginal effect?
The Workface Limited August 2005 Climate & Energy Report is now available.
Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis claims to be the most comprehensive and up-to-date scientific assessment of past, present and future climate change.
Wikipedia has a nice 2000 Year Temperature Comparison which clearly shows the dramatic warming that has occurred since the start of the industrial revolution.
Alaskan people tell of climate change.
Calvin Jones recently contacted me about two new climate change blogs he started:
The Big Ask is a climate change campaign run by Friends of the Earth.
"A deal on climate change that doesn't limit pollution is the same as a peace plan that allows guns to be fired". This was a WWF response to the surprise announcement of a deal signed by the US and five Asia-Pacific states which aims to tackle global warming by supplying new technology to countries most in need.
London Rising Tide have revamped their website.
The science academies of the world's leading nations are urging their governments to take prompt action to combat possible climate change.
Check out this new G8 Climate Action website.
Hundreds of miles of coastline could be affected by erosion over the next century and planning must start now to deal with it, the National Trust said.
Art Not Oil 2005 will begin as a virtual gallery, hopefully progressing to a physical space at some point during the year.
A row has erupted over one of the most provocative symbols of global warming - the iconic "hockey stick" graph.
The UK government has announced tougher limits on greenhouse gas emissions following pressure from the European Commission.
The Kyoto March on Saturday went very well. I pedalled Tony's Soapbox Trike from Holborn to Grosvenor Square, and there were enough people to carry the flags of all the countries that have ratified. The Kyoto Protocol will come into effect tomorrow.
On 2005-02-12 there will be a Kyoto March in London organised by Campaign against Climate Change. This will feature flags from all countries that have signed up to the treaty and will arrive at the US Embassy at about 14:00 for a few speeches. I will be helping out with the Soapbox trike which will be there to promote the G8 Bike Ride.
A team of UK researchers claims to have new evidence that global warming is melting the ice in Antarctica faster than had previously been thought.
Temperatures around the world could rise by as much as 11C, according to one of the largest climate prediction projects ever run.
RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists.
Delegates at the UN climate change conference in Buenos Aires have reached agreement on ways to address the issue of global warming.
Climate experts and politicians meet in Buenos Aires from Monday to discuss policies they believe may be needed beyond the Kyoto Protocol.
The Kyoto protocol is set to become a legally-binding treaty on 2005-02-16.
A group including famous mountaineers and members of Friends of the Earth will ask UNESCO to put Nepal's Sagarmatha National Park on its danger list. Melting glaciers have swollen lakes and increased the risk of catastrophic flooding in the Himalayas.
The Arctic is undergoing rapid and possibly irreversible change, according to a new report prepared for the eight nations which rim the region.
Professor John Schellnhuber, of the University of East Anglia, believes the cost of averting runaway climate change could be as low as 0.3% of global GDP.
UK cod and chips, spring daffodils and Scottish ski resorts could be no more by 2050 if nothing is done to fight global warming, says a new report.
The Russian State Duma today voted 334-73 to approve the Kyoto protocol, which still has to pass through the upper parliament and be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.
At the opening of their annual conference the Green Party has said that Britain must get serious about averting a global warming catastrophe.
On Sunday I helped take down the Campaign against Climate Change stall at the European Social Forum and had had a chat with Phil who seemed fairly pleased with the way it went. It seems that CCC played an important part in getting climate change mentioned in The Call of the Assembly of Social Movements, specifically in the statement:
The destabilisation of global climate poses an unprecedented threat to our children's future and to humanity: We support the call from environmental organisations for international action on climate change in 2005. We support the campaigns against GMOs and for safe agriculture, food and environment.
There is an interesting piece in Mmegi by Patrick van Rensberg titled Is Kyoto being bought by carbon trading bribes? in which he mentions the recent "Commodifying Carbon: Consequences and Strategies" meeting in Durban. This was attended by people concerned with social and environmental justice issues including global warming, and came up with the "Durban Declaration on Carbon Trading" which is available on the Sinks Watch website.
ExxonSecrets.org reveals how ExxonMobil funds the climate change sceptics.
The Russian government has approved the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and sent it to parliament for ratification.
Campaign Against Climate Change have called a "Rally for the Planet" to be held on 2004-11-04, just two days after the U.S. Presidential Election. If Bush wins it will be something along the lines of a global funeral march, if Kerry wins it will be a call for him to re-engage with international efforts to address climate change.
Tony Blair has said that urgent action is needed now to combat global warming.
In the next couple of days, both the British prime minister and the leader of the opposition are due to talk about the importance of tackling climate change.
Have you heard of something called the "Copenhagen Consensus Conference"? This flagship event of Bjorn Lomborg's Environmental Assessment Institute was left in disarray after five of the seven board members resigned en masse. Disinfopedia has a good entry on the subject.
Professor John Schellnhuber has warned that we have barely begun to recognise the danger of setting off rapid and irreversible changes in some crucial natural systems.
Meanwhile the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research have published a useful report called Our Changing Planet.
Europeans must adapt on climate says the European Environment Agency.
Campaign against Climate Change are working on plans for an event in response to the US Presidential election. This will be along the lines of a global funeral march if Bush wins, or asking Kerry to get America back on board with international efforts to tackle global warming.
On Thursday, the four shortlisted artists for this year's BP Portrait award went on show at the National Portrait Gallery. Using BP's sponsorship of this award as a focus, London Rising Tide have been holding their own exhibition of artwork which shows the real face of the oil industry. They managed to squat 50 Chalk Farm Road in Camden for the event and I went along last night for a musical J18 anniversary party. They should have the place till Monday at least, so why not pop in to look at the work and perhaps get involved?
Lord Oxburgh, new head of Shell, has said in an interview that unless carbon dioxide emissions are dealt with he sees "very little hope for the future".
Ten leading US climate scientists call for more urgent action to tackle global warming.
Following a recent breakthrough in negotiations in which European leaders agreed to back Russian entry to the WTO, Vladimir Putin has announced that he intends to move rapidly to ratify the Kyoto Protocol! This is a very significant move, since it should allow the agreement to come into force without the participation of the United States.
Inspired by this news I have just written up a report about last weekend's Long March for Kyoto.
Greenland's ice cap could melt within the next 1,000 years due global warming, causing a 7 metre rise in sea level.
Former UK cabinet minister Stephen Byers is to chair the opening meeting of a new international climate change task force.
Downing Street tried to muzzle the Government's top scientific adviser, Sir David King, after he warned that global warming was a more serious threat than international terrorism.
Austin TX has an ambitious plan to promote solar energy.
Greenpeace is celebrating victory after successfully defending an action brought by Exxon Mobil. Greenpeace can now legally continue to refer to the oil giant as E$$O.
Apparently in October 2003 a Pentagon report on climate change was completed but suppressed by the Bush Administration. The report came to light after being leaked to Fortune magazine in early February and described a scenario in which devastating consequences of climate change could be felt as early as 2020. Read more in this article at MotherJones.
I have just been looking at Spencer Weart's Global Warming website. He describes it as "A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to change the Earth's climate." and it must surely be the most comprehensive online resource available in the field.
Another excellent resource is the website of Professor Stephen H. Schneider, Senior Fellow of the Stanford Institute for International Studies.
Campaign against Climate Change have announced that this years Kyoto event will take place on 2004-05-15 and will include a "Long March" from Exxon-Mobil HQ near Leatherhead, rally at the Imperial War Museum, and "Dinosaur Party" at the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square. Keep an eye on the CCC website.
The IPCC does not currently include in its evaluations the influence of soot on snow and ice albedo. Alex Kirby, the BBC News Online environmental correspondent, reported today on work which suggests that reducing atmospheric soot levels could help to slow global warming relatively simply, but that greenhouse gasses are still the chief cause.
As reported by CBC News, representatives from the Inuit Circumpolar Conference who were among the delegates to the UNFCCC COP 9 meeting have made it clear that they consider failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to be a violation of their human rights!
As George Bush arrived in London on 2003-11-18 for his State Visit there was a lively demonstration against his administration's environmental policies (or lack thereof), and in particular the decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. I was there and briefly mentioned the protest in this report, but since then there have been some interesting developments.
Firstly, there have been mixed signals from Russia. With 17% of global C02 emissions, Russian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol would be sufficient for it to enter into force despite US intransigence. Then in another interesting development, on 2003-12-06 the New Economics Foundation published a document (available in PDF form for download from their site) entitled "Free Riding on the Planet: The Possibility of legal, economic and trade restrictive measures to tackle inaction on global warming" - worth a read.
I should mention that not all climate change activists support the Kyoto Protocol, see for instance this call for action which raises the question "The Kyoto climate change treaty: milestone or millstone?" and my response to it.
In issue 1091 of Private Eye there is a letter by Alwyn Davies in which he describes man-made global warming as the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind and gives various scientific sounding figures to back up his claim. From what I can see Alwyn does not appear to have any scientific credentials though he has obviously done some selective reading and has posted a number of similar anti-green rants on the web, several of them denouncing wind turbines.
But Alwyn is a small fish who probably gets his info from the big guys such as S. Fred Singer who's Science & Environmental Policy Project rails against the environmental movement while receiving funding from Exxon. Then there is the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine which spawned the now infamous "Oregon Petition" that is trotted out regularly as evidence of a lack of scientific agreement on global warming. In reality the petition was based on an elaborate deception and has been widely discredited - see this PR Watch case study.
Of course I don't want to discourage healthy scepticism, but faced with this sort of disinformation Transport 2000 have produced a useful climate change briefing to counter some of the common myths.
I was just looking at the UK Government energy white paper "Our energy future - creating a low carbon economy". It looks promising with a goal of reducing UK CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050 with "real progress" by 2020 but Stephen Tinsdale, Director of Greenpeace UK, is concerned that a firm 2020 target for renewable energy has been dropped. I am also worried that the pro-environment stance is a ruse to give Tony Blair credibility by disarming his critics who accuse him of simply taking orders from George Bush. This might make it easier for him to gain public backing for an oil war with Iraq.
There is an interesting article by Timothy Egan in the New York Times about how Alaskans are suffering from the effects of global warming. You will need to register or enter an existing username/password to see the article entitled "Alaska, No Longer So Frigid, Starts to Crack, Burn and Sag"
Six weeks ago I attended a lecture by Dr Joseph Farman which he titled "The Montreal Protocol - the views of a concerned scientist". Dr Farman led the team of British scientists who discovered the Antarctic ozone hole in the early 1980's and provided the critical link between CFCs and ozone depletion. In 1987 the recognition of the potential for chlorine and bromine to destroy stratospheric ozone led to an international agreement (The United Nations Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer) to reduce the global production of ozone-depleting substances. Since then, new global observations of significant ozone depletion have prompted amendments to strengthen the treaty. If you are unfamiliar with this I recommend having a look at the 1998 WMO/UNEP Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion.
Now you might well be saying "I thought this was about climate change, not ozone depletion". Well it is, the point being that the Montreal Protocol was a perfect example of how international action and cooperation are required to tackle global issues. Can climate change be tackled in the same way?
The US Environmental Protection Agency Global Warming Site is a useful resource for learning about global warming and climate change. If you search the site for a while you may eventually find the link to the full text of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but better to go straight to the UNFCCC website where you can learn all about the Kyoto agreement. What you won't read on either site (for obvious reasons in the case of the EPA) is that just over a year ago the US Government unilaterally pulled out of the agreement (there are some links to relevant news reports on the UNFCCC site), or that one of the main reasons for this act of sabotage is that George Bush is in hock to the oil industry in general and to Exxon Mobil in particular.
To mark the first anniversary of this betrayal, the Campaign against Climate Change organised a 20 mile march from the UK Exxon Mobil headquarters in Leatherhead to the US Embassy. I joined about 15 people in Leatherhead for a 7 AM start and we reached Central London mid afternoon where we were met by more protesters for the last couple of miles to the Embassy - see report on the CCC website.
As it happens I just saw an interesting letter by Fred Pierce in the Forum section of the 1997-11-15 issue of "New Scientist". He suggests that governments are really just pawns and it is corporations that have the real clout - hence Greenpeace has been right to target campaigning activities at the latter. Search archive.newscientist.com for the full text.
Anyway, if you are interested in taking part in some sort of action, CCC hold a weekly climate vigil outside the US Embassy in London on Mondays from 5-7 PM.
www.zenatode.org.uk Ian Gregory 2010