Category : Climate Change, Weather

(Guardian) Drought puts 2.1 million Kenyans at risk of starvation

An estimated 2.1 million Kenyans face starvation due to a drought in half the country, which is affecting harvests.

The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) said people living in 23 counties across the arid north, northeastern and coastal parts of the country will be in “urgent need” of food aid over the next six months, after poor rains between March and May this year.

The crisis has been compounded by Covid-19 and previous poor rains, it said, predicting the situation will get worse by the end of the year, as October to December rains are expected to be below normal levels.

The affected regions are usually the most food-insecure in Kenya due to high levels of poverty.

Read it all.

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Kenya, Poverty

(Guardian) Four in 10 young people fear having children due to climate crisis

Four in 10 young people around the world are hesitant to have children as a result of the climate crisis, and fear that governments are doing too little to prevent climate catastrophe, a poll in 10 countries has found.

Nearly six in 10 young people, aged 16 to 25, were very or extremely worried about climate change, according to the biggest scientific study yet on climate anxiety and young people, published on Tuesday. A similar number said governments were not protecting them, the planet, or future generations, and felt betrayed by the older generation and governments.

Three-quarters agreed with the statement “the future is frightening”, and more than half felt they would have fewer opportunities than their parents. Nearly half reported feeling distressed or anxious about the climate in a way that was affecting their daily lives and functioning.

The poll of about 10,000 young people covered Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Portugal, the UK and the US. It was paid for by the campaigning organisation Avaaz.

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Posted in Children, Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Marriage & Family, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

(FT) Climate change risks triggering catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis, scientist Bill McGuire warns

The world is underestimating the geological consequences of global warming, which could trigger catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis as the melting of ice sheets reduces the weight on the crust below and unleashes intense seismic activity, a leading earth scientist has warned.

The biggest threat in the north Atlantic comes from the thinning of Greenland’s ice cap, Bill McGuire, professor of earth sciences at University College London, told the British Science Festival in the UK town of Chelmsford on Thursday. Within decades, that could spark huge submarine earthquakes off the coast of Greenland, causing tsunamis with disastrous consequences for North America and probably Europe, he said.

A possible precedent was the “great Storegga tsunami” that devastated the coasts of Scandinavia and the British Isles 8,200 years ago. An offshore earthquake, triggered by the release of pressure after northern Europe’s ice sheets had melted, set off a vast landslide of submarine sediments under the Norwegian Sea. Geological evidence shows the resulting tsunami wave reached 15 to 20 metres high in the Shetland islands and 3 to 6 metres high further down the North Sea.

“As the Greenland ice cap melts, the uplift in the crust is going to trigger earthquakes,” said McGuire. “We don’t know enough about the sediments off the Greenland coast to predict confidently what might happen there, but it is certainly possible that within decades there could be a tsunami right across the north Atlantic.”

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Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Science & Technology

(LA Times front page) Dire Climate Predications Are Becoming Real Around Globe

More unprecedented heat waves also could be in store, like those experienced this month in the Pacific Northwest, where hundreds of people are believed to have died from the extreme temperatures, and Russia’s Siberia, where nearly 200 separate forest fires have choked the region in smoke that has since drifted to Alaska.

“All of this was predicted in climate science decades ago,” said John P. Holdren, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “We only had to wait for the actual emergence in the last 15 to 20 years. Everything we worried about is happening, and it’s all happening at the high end of projections, even faster than the previous most pessimistic estimates.”

Scientists and environmental activists are in a race to persuade the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enough to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels. Failure to do so could result in massive disruptions such as famine and widespread coastal flooding. Time is short: Global temperatures have already risen on average by 2.16 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880.

Last week, the European Union proposed sweeping legislation aimed at cutting emissions by more than half of 1990 levels by 2030 through the phasing out of gasoline and diesel cars and the imposition of tariffs on imports from polluting countries. The plan poses formidable challenges for the 27-country bloc, including trade tensions and a political backlash from those who deny climate change is happening.

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Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(Global News) Up to a billion seashore creatures were cooked to death during B.C. heat wave, researcher says

As many as one billion seashore animals along the Salish Sea may have died as a result of the heat wave in British Columbia.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia say the heat caused a mass die-off of creatures like sea snails and sea stars, as well as mollusks like clams and mussels.

Chris Harley, a professor with UBC’s Department of Zoology, said large quantities of dead sea life were spotted at beaches across Metro Vancouver.

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Posted in Animals, Canada, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

(Science Alert) More Than Half of All Buildings in The US Are at Risk of Natural Disasters

More than half of all buildings in the United States are situated in hazardous hotspots, prone to wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes, according to new research.

Areas vulnerable to such natural disasters make up only one-third of the US mainland, and yet most modern development to date has occurred in these very spots.

In 1945, roughly 173,000 structures, including homes, schools, hospitals, and office buildings, were situated in hotspots for at least two separate kinds of natural disasters.

Seven decades later, that number has now reached over 1.5 million buildings, and development in these areas is still growing rapidly.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, City Government, Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Science & Technology, State Government

(Bloomberg) California’s Drought Is So Bad That Almond Farmers Are Ripping Out Trees

Christine Gemperle is about to do what almond farmers fear the most: rip out her trees early.

Water is so scarce on her orchard in California’s Central Valley that she’s been forced to let a third of her acreage go dry. In the irrigated areas, the lush, supple trees are dewy in the early morning, providing some relief from the extreme heat. Walking over to the dry side, you can actually feel the temperature start to go up as you’re surrounded by the brittle, lifeless branches that look like they could crumble into dust.

“Farming’s very risky,” said Gemperle, who will undertake the arduous process of pulling out all her trees on the orchard this fall, replacing them with younger ones that don’t need as much moisture. It’s a tough decision. Almond trees are typically a 25-year investment, and if it weren’t for the drought, these trees could’ve made it through at least another growing season, if not two. Now, they’ll be ground up into mulch.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand just how risky this business is, and it’s a risk that’s associated with something you can’t control at all: The weather,” she said.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ecology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stewardship

(FT) Worst drought in a century hits Brazil as it fights to overcome Covid19

The worst drought in almost a century has left millions of Brazilians facing water shortages and the risk of power blackouts, complicating the country’s efforts to recover from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The agricultural centres in São Paulo state and Mato Grosso do Sul have been worse affected, after the November-March rainy season produced the lowest level of rainfall in 20 years.

Water levels in the Cantareira system of reservoirs, which serves about 7.5m people in São Paulo city, dropped to below one-tenth of its capacity this year. Brazil’s mines and energy ministry has called it country’s worst drought in 91 years.

“Lately we’ve been without water every other day, but it was usually at night. But on Thursday we had no water all day,” said Nilza Maria Silva Duarte from São Paulo’s working class east zone.

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Posted in Brazil, Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Politics in General, South America

The Church of England Pensions Board’s response to Shell CEO’s statement

“We continue to engage with Shell on the implications and how accelerating its plans will enable the company to meet the requirements of the CA100+ Net Zero Company Benchmark by 2023. It also underlines the importance that we must all work to decarbonise the real economy to reshape energy demand and ensure all companies – energy companies and all their customers in shipping, aviation, transport, road haulage, power generation and elsewhere are aligning to net zero.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Stock Market

(CBS) 60 Minutes Interviews Sir David Attenborough, age 95

Anderson Cooper: You were skeptical of– of climate change And I think that’s– that’s interesting, because I think it makes your warnings now all the more powerful.

Sir David Attenborough: Yeah, yeah, certainly so. And if you’re going to make a statement about the world, you better make sure that it isn’t just your own personal reaction. And the only way you can do it, do that, is to see the– the work of scientists around the world who are taking observation as to what’s happening. As to what’s happening to temperature, what’s happening to humidity, what’s happening to radioactivity, and what’s happening ecologically?

Anderson Cooper: You’ve said that– that “climate change is the greatest threat facing the planet for thousands of years.”

Sir David Attenborough: Yes. Even the biggest and most awful things that humanity has done, civili– so-called civilizations have done, pale to significance when you think of what could be around the corner, unless we pull ourselves together.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in Animals, Climate Change, Weather, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Stewardship

(CNBC) China’s greenhouse gas emissions exceed those of U.S. and developed countries combined, report says

China’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 exceeded those of the U.S. and the developed world combined, according to a report published Thursday by research and consulting firm Rhodium Group.

The country’s emissions more than tripled during the past three decades, the report added.

China is now responsible for more than 27% of total global emissions. The U.S., which is the world’s second-highest emitter, accounts for 11% of the global total. India is responsible for 6.6% of global emissions, edging out the 27 nations in the EU, which account for 6.4%, the report said.

The findings come after a climate summit President Joe Biden hosted last month, during which Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated his pledge to make sure the nation’s emissions peak by 2030. He also repeated China’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by midcentury and urged countries to work together to combat the climate crisis.

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Posted in China, Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology

(BBC) Indonesia coral reef partially restored in extensive project

Around 40,000 sq m of coral reef has been restored as part of a collaboration between local groups, conservation organisation The Nature Conservancy and pet brand Sheba.

Read it all and wtach the whole video report.

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

(Westminster Abbey) The Charles Gore Lecture 2020: A Theology of Hope for the 21st Century by Professor Jürgen Moltmann

1. I start with a poison of hatred.
Human life, itself, is in danger today. The humanity of life is threatened. Life is not in danger because it is menaced by death, for it always has been. It is in danger because it is no longer respected and affirmed. It is no longer loved. After the Second World War, Albert Camus stated, “The secret of Europe is that it no longer loves life.” Anyone who took part in World War II knows what he meant.

After seventy years of peace in Europe, we are facing a new ideology of enmity today. In the 20th century, we experienced a state-operating “terror from above” in forms of fascism and Stalinism. Today, we are experiencing private “terror from below”.

“Your young people love life”, Mullah Omar, of the Taliban, told Western journalists, “our young people love death.” Suicide assassins love death of their enemies and their own deaths. That is the terror of the Islamic State in Iraq, and of Boko Haram in Africa towards the “godless” Western world that they feel threatened by. The victim mentality always leads to anger and to hate.

These days, this terror has been joined ranks by “white terror”, as Norway, New Zealand, and Texas, and Germany have witnessed the terror of “white supremacy”, of white racism. In many Western nations, a climate of hate has been fostered, promoting such hate against those perceived as outsiders, against migrants, Jews, and disliked politicians. Our public atmosphere has been poisoned ever since we have had anonymous Twitter on the internet: Hate via the world wide web.

Question is, how can human civilization prevail against these odds?

2. Neo-nationalism
The political problem we are facing is neo-nationalism. The big nations of the world are at war in the middle of peace. It is a hybrid war of economic sanctions and cyber wars with fake news. In the struggle for power, the neo-nationalists seem to believe in the survival of the fittest, because they deem their own nation to be the fittest.

Neo-nationalism began at the end of the East-West conflict in 1990. Up until then, the world had been divided into two blocks: the socialist world in the East, and the “free world” in the West. Then the Soviet Union dissolved itself, Gorbachev lost, and Yeltsin won in 1993. The Soviet Union disintegrated into larger and smaller nations. The socialist dream of equality of all people died.

The “free world” dissolved more slowly.

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Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Eschatology, Politics in General, Theology

Church of England Pensions Board commits to the global ‘Net Zero Investment Framework’

21 asset owners, with $1.2 trillion in assets, have used publication of the Framework to commit to achieve net zero alignment by 2050 or sooner. The funds, including the Church of England Pensions Board, are drawing on the Framework to deliver these commitments, alongside a number of asset managers who are already working with clients on net zero alignment.

The Framework enables investors to decarbonise investment portfolios and increase investment in climate solutions, in a way that is consistent with and contributes to a 1.5°C net zero emissions future. Investors do this by developing a ‘net zero investment strategy’ built around five core components of the Framework. These key components are: objectives and targets, strategic asset allocation and asset class alignment, alongside policy advocacy and, investor engagement activity and governance.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stewardship, Stock Market

(Wash Post) An evangelical scientist on reconciling her religion and the realities of climate change

Because here’s the thing. When I run into people who are very adamant about rejecting climate change — they’re not that many; only 7 percent of people are dismissive, but they’re very loud about it. I look at those people, whether it’s on social media or if they wrote me a letter — rarely do I run into them in person; most prefer to be behind the safety of a keyboard before they attack you — but I look at who they are because I’m curious. And easily 90 percent of the time — probably more than that — climate change is just one of a package of issues: extreme nationalism, anti-immigration, right-wing politics. You know, whatever the current issue of the day is — covid, school shooting — you can guarantee that whoever rejects climate change will also be adamantly defending the right of people to bear weapons and supporting covid myths and disinformation. It all goes together.

So only 7 percent are what we would call climate-change deniers?

Yeah. Seven percent are really hardcore, but then what happens is that a lot of people are not outright dismissive — they just are what social scientists call “cognitive misers.” We all are. [Laughs.] Because who has time to read all of these things and develop a thoughtful opinion on the myriad issues that we’re expected to have in order to vote or to advocate or even [address] when it comes up in conversation? So we look to the opinions of people we respect, whose values we believe that we share, who we assume have spent a bit more time thinking about it than we have. And we adopt their opinions. Unfortunately, today a lot of that has become very politically polarized. And you have a lot of people who are just really confused because they hear people whose values they share, who call themselves Christians, who have called themselves Republicans or conservatives, telling people, “Oh, this isn’t real.” “Those scientists are just making it up.” “It’s just a liberal hoax.”

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Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(NPR) It’s Not Just Texas. The Entire Energy Grid Needs An Upgrade For Extreme Weather

The Texas blackout is another reminder that more frequent, climate-driven extreme weather puts stress on the country’s electricity grid. It came just months after outages in California aimed at preventing wildfires.

Compounding this, electricity likely will be even more important in coming years amid a push to electrify cars and homes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That has many grid experts saying it’s time to upgrade the country’s electricity infrastructure.

That includes wires, power plants, big transmission towers and local utilities – everything that gets electricity to you. And much of that infrastructure was designed for a different era.

“We planned this grid for Ozzie and Harriet weather and we are now facing Mad Max,” says energy consultant Alison Silverstein.

The pop culture references are her way of saying that the grid was designed for technology and weather that existed in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. Now, she says, it needs to be updated for a future that includes climate change.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Climate Change, Weather, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, State Government, The U.S. Government

(Guardian) Atlantic Ocean circulation at weakest in a millennium, say scientists

The Atlantic Ocean circulation that underpins the Gulf Stream, the weather system that brings warm and mild weather to Europe, is at its weakest in more than a millennium, and climate breakdown is the probable cause, according to new data.

Further weakening of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) could result in more storms battering the UK, more intense winters and an increase in damaging heatwaves and droughts across Europe.

Scientists predict that the AMOC will weaken further if global heating continues, and could reduce by about 34% to 45% by the end of this century, which could bring us close to a “tipping point” at which the system could become irrevocably unstable. A weakened Gulf Stream would also raise sea levels on the Atlantic coast of the US, with potentially disastrous consequences.

Stefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who co-authored the study published on Thursday in Nature Geoscience, told the Guardian that a weakening AMOC would increase the number and severity of storms hitting Britain, and bring more heatwaves to Europe.

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Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology

(RNS) Dallas faith groups help shelter homeless Texans during deep freeze

Some communities urged residents to boil water before drinking, and Texas officials are not sure when power outages will end, according to local news reports from Dallas. The Weather Channel reported 17 people had died due to the storm.

The Rev. Wayne Walker of OurCalling, a Dallas-based homeless ministry, said his organization had been providing shelter at its building but became too crowded during the deep freeze. There was not enough space for people to stay warm while still keeping socially distanced.

One Dallas homeless shelter, where about 250 people were staying, temporarily lost power due to the storm, reported The Dallas Morning News. The city has also been relying on local hotels to provide winter shelter for the homeless during the pandemic.

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Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Parish Ministry

(Church Times) C of E’s carbon footprint calculated for first time

The carbon footprint of Church of England buildings has been calculated for the first time. The estimate is that parish churches use about 185,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.

The data has been gathered by the Energy Footprint Tool (EFT), an online calculator built by the statistics team at Church House, Westminster, which allows parishes to input their energy usage and discover how much carbon-dioxide equivalent they are using (News, 4 September 2020).

Once churches have entered their data, the tool offers advice for how they could cut their energy usage, and a simple comparison on how they are doing compared with churches of similar size.

It is hoped that wider usage of the EFT will help to push the Church towards meeting its target, set by the General Synod, of reaching net-zero emissions by 2030 (News, 14 February 2020)

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, the C of E’s lead bishop on the environment, said that the 2030 target had inspired Anglicans everywhere to “pick up the pace”.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(FT Magazine) How the race for renewable energy is reshaping global politics

Australia itself has long been a climate laggard and a major coal exporter, but as China and other big customers plan to cut their emissions, taking their business with them, that may be changing. Dozens of the world’s biggest economies have adopted targets for net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. And 189 countries have joined the 2015 Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2C. In a race to curb climate change, countries are rushing to cut fossil fuels, boost clean energy — and transform their economies in the process.

But as the energy system changes, so will energy politics. For most of the past century, geopolitical power was intimately connected to fossil fuels. The fear of an oil embargo or a gas shortage was enough to forge alliances or start wars, and access to oil deposits conferred great wealth. In the world of clean energy, a new set of winners and losers will emerge. Some see it as a clean energy “space race”. Countries or regions that master clean technology, export green energy or import less fossil fuel stand to gain from the new system, while those that rely on exporting fossil fuels — such as the Middle East or Russia — could see their power decline.

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, the former president of Iceland and chair of the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, says that the clean energy transition will birth a new type of politics. The shift is happening “faster, and in a more comprehensive way, than anyone expected”, he says. “As fossil fuels gradually go out of the energy system . . . the old geopolitical model of power centres that dominate relations between states also goes out the window. Gradually the power of those states that were big players in the world of the ­fossil-fuel economies, or big corporates like the oil companies, will fritter away.”

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Stewardship

(Wired) The Ongoing Collapse of the World’s Aquifers

AS California’s economy skyrocketed during the 20th century, its land headed in the opposite direction. A booming agricultural industry in the state’s San Joaquin Valley, combined with punishing droughts, led to the over-extraction of water from aquifers. Like huge, empty water bottles, the aquifers crumpled, a phenomenon geologists call subsidence. By 1970, the land had sunk as much as 28 feet in the valley, with less-than-ideal consequences for the humans and infrastructure above the aquifers.

The San Joaquin Valley was geologically primed for collapse, but its plight is not unique. All over the world—from the Netherlands to Indonesia to Mexico City—geology is conspiring with climate change to sink the ground under humanity’s feet. More punishing droughts mean the increased draining of aquifers, and rising seas make sinking land all the more vulnerable to flooding. According to a recent study published in the journal Science, in the next two decades, 1.6 billion people could be affected by subsidence, with potential loses in the trillions of dollars.

“Subsidence has been neglected in a lot of ways because it is slow moving. You don’t recognize it until you start seeing damage,” says Michelle Sneed, a land subsidence specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey and coauthor on the paper. “The land sinking itself is not a problem. But if you’re on the coast, it’s a big problem. If you have infrastructure that crosses long areas, it’s a big problem. If you have deep wells, they’re collapsing because of subsidence. That’s a problem.”

Read it all.

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology

(Local paper front page) Worry rising with the tides Amid climate change, Charleston Harbor logs 68 tidal floods, the 2nd most ever

The Charleston Harbor tidal gauge logged more records in 2020.

It recorded 68 tidal floods — the second-most ever at the station.

The highest year, when water levels reached 7 feet or higher 89 times, was in 2019.

The database of flood events maintained by the National Weather Service dates to 1953.

2020 also brought the highest ever amount of “major” tidal floods, when water levels rise to 8 feet, causing significant disruption in the region. That happened seven times last year, which is an even more remarkable milestone considering the region was not directly affected by a hurricane.

While 2020′s records are just one data point, it’s another sign that tidal flooding in the city driven by man-made climate change is worsening. The pace of flooding is speeding up, according to institutions such as the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, which has plotted an exponential trend of higher seas for Charleston.

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General

(FT) New Glencore Leader Pledges to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions dramatically going forward

At Friday’s event Glencore pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, including “scope 3” created when customers burn raw materials, to net zero by 2050.

It plans to do this mainly by placing its coal business into managed decline in which reserves are not replaced as they run down. 

By setting out a credible pathway to net zero, Mr Glasenberg believes Glencore will be able to hang on to a business it can milk for cash and not be penalised by investors. 

Coal accounts for about 10 per cent of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, and 5 per cent of revenue, so it is not a huge part of its business.

The move has met a positive response. While Glencore’s commitments require careful consideration, they are “significant”, according to Adam Matthews, director of ethics and engagement at the Church of England Pensions Board and co-chair of the Transition Pathway Initiative.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology

(ABC Aus.) Rupert Read–Imagining the world after COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us, we have to live in a world we will never fully understand, predict, or control. The huge cost — in terms both of lives and money — of the world’s collective failure to apply precautionary reasoning to the coronavirus will hopefully continue to wake people up. If we are to survive, let alone flourish, we need to change things up; we need to imagine big, along the lines that I’ve been suggesting. This pandemic is our chance, probably our last such chance, for a new beginning. From its horror, if we retrieve the drive to localise, we’ll be building the best possible memorial to those hundreds of thousands who have unnecessarily died.

The coronavirus crisis is like the climate crisis, only dramatically telescoped in terms of time. We have seen what happens when there is a short-term protective contraction of the economy. The lifestyle-change that was required by the pandemic is more extreme than what will be required of us in order adequately to address the climate crisis. Why not make the less extreme changes required to live safely within a stable climate?

The coronavirus pandemic is like an acute condition: both individuals and entire societies need to respond quickly to it, but probably not for an extended period of time — certainly not if prevention or elimination is successfully achieved. The climate crisis is a chronic condition: it will take decades upon decades of determination, commitment, and “sacrifice” not to be overwhelmed by it. But the changes we need to make in order to achieve that goal are more attractive than those made in order to fight the coronavirus. The life we live in a climate-safe world can be a better life: saner; more rooted and local; more secure, with stronger communities and less uncertainty about our common future; less hyper-materialistic; more caring; more nurturing, and with greater exposure to the natural world.

What is required is the building of care, ethical sensibilities, and precautiousness into the very warp and weft of our lives.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Theology

(Bloomberg) Australia’s Water Is Vanishing

The early afternoon sun was pounding the parched soil, and Gus Whyte was pulling on his dust-caked cowboy boots to take me for a drive. We’d just finished lunch—cured ham, a loaf of bread I’d bought on the trip up, chutney pickled by Whyte’s wife, Kelly—at his house in Anabranch South, which isn’t a town but rather a fuzzy cartographic notion in the far west of New South Wales, a seven-hour drive from Melbourne and half as far again from Sydney. I’d been grateful, as I pulled off the blacktop of the Silver City Highway to cover the last 10 miles or so, that I’d rented the biggest 4×4 Hertz could give me. I was on a dirt road, technically, but the dirt was mostly sand, punctuated with rocks the size of small livestock and marked only by the faintest of tire tracks.

We climbed into Whyte’s pickup, and I reached instinctively over my shoulder. “Don’t worry about seat belts,” he said, amiably but firmly. “I know it’s a habit.” His Jack Russell terrier, Molly, balanced herself on his lap as he drove.

Whyte, who has reddish-brown hair, sheltered his ruddy, sun-weathered face beneath a battered bush hat. He raises livestock, mostly sheep and some cattle, on nearly 80,000 acres. Normally he’d run about 7,500 sheep, but he was down to 2,000. There wasn’t enough water for more. “I can’t remember it being this dry,” he said. “It’s disheartening to see a landscape like this. You hate it. This is where I was born and grew up, and it means the world to me.”

He kept driving, rattling off statistics about rainfall (down) and temperatures (up). Every so often he’d stop and get out to check on one of the storage tanks dotting the property, which held what little water he had. After a while we pulled onto the crest of a small hill, and Whyte pointed out Yelta Lake, a kidney-shaped landmark that’s colored, on maps, in a reassuringly cool blue. In real life it was the same dun color as everything else. “It hasn’t had any water in it since 2014,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Australia / NZ, Climate Change, Weather, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

(Local Paper Front Page) A City in Crisis–Charleston, SC, faces an existential choice: Wall off the rising ocean or retreat to high ground

…in its 350th year, the city is considering this old strategy for a different enemy: the rising sea that threatens to one day swallow it whole.

The proposal, laid out at the end of last month in a lengthy report by the Army Corps of Engineers, would create an 8-mile perimeter around the city’s core peninsula, slicing through the marshlands that blossom out from the water’s edge or following the paths of streets on higher ground. It would make the city’s tallest seawall 3 feet higher, and the Army Corps says the project should fend off the water for 50 years.

The Corps has been clear, as have others who have studied flood threats on the peninsula. When the wall of water pushed by a hurricane comes, there are few other options to stop it than a wall of your own.

The porous coastline, with many rivers threading in and out of the estuary, welcomes the surging ocean at so many points that it would be too costly and complicated to create a gate system. And the peninsula itself, filled in over decades with dirt or sawdust or even trash, is already seeing increased tidal flooding as sea level rise slowly reclaims former creekbeds.

And so the city is left with a question: Does it defend its position once again, or start planning to leave?

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Local Paper) Charleston’s peninsula could be walled in under new $1.75B flood prevention plan

Charleston’s peninsula could become a walled city again for the first time in centuries if the results of a flooding protection study released Monday come to full fruition.

The preliminary plan — the results of 18 months of work by the Army Corps of Engineers — is the preferred path forward of seven different options the Corps considered. It would encircle much of the peninsula with a wall running almost 8 miles to keep out hurricane surge.

Gates would let water run into the marshes and two rivers that bound Charleston.

Five new pump stations would aim to avoid a “bathtub effect” and move rainfall out of the perimeter. A breakwater slightly offshore of the peninsula’s southern tip would be designed to slow down damaging waves.

That, and efforts to flood-proof a few structures outside the barrier, come to an unprecedented total for a flooding project in Charleston: $1.75 billion.

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Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Climate Change, Weather, Economy, Politics in General, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Vatican News) Yeb Saño–The cry of the earth is no different than the cry of the poor

Yeb Saño believes that the environmental crisis is rooted in three human characteristics, all of which are “closely connected with who we are”. All of these three words, he says, “start with the letter A”.

The first word is arrogance. Arrogance is the belief that you’re better than God or better than nature, that we’re smarter than nature – and that has caused a lot of havoc in the world.

The second word is apathy. Apathy is the dangerous belief that it’s somebody else’s job to care, it’s somebody else’s job to take care of others or take care of the environment.

And the third one is avarice, which is extreme greed. Greed has made this world a much, much worse place to live in. Greed is what drives, for example, corporations to only think about profits and not the people and the planet.

These are three words that “we as Catholics strive to stand up against”, three forms of a lack of love: “the love that Pope Francis reminds us to embrace as a commandment from God and as an example from the life of Jesus”, says Yeb Saño.

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Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Local Paper) Sea turtles nesting earlier in South Carolina and Southeast as climate change takes hold

“Turtles keep you guessing,” she said. “What’s more shocking is since that nest we’re seen five more.”

The early nestings have bad and good implications for sea turtle nesting in South Carolina and across the Southeast. Loggerheads, which lay most of the eggs here, are also nesting earlier.

The phenomenon is likely one more sign that warmer seas and sands are becoming one more threat to the declining species.

But it might mean the ancient turtles themselves are adapting — again — to a changing climate.

Far more of the eggs that are laid in warmer sands emerge as females, disrupting the gender balance needed to reproduce. The trend has worried biologists for the turtles’ future. The turtles, metabolically if not instinctively, might just be looking for cooler sands. The shift in nesting season is occurring along with an apparent northward shift in range.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Animals, Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

(Church Times) Climate battle must start right now, says Bishop Holtam

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nick Holtam, the Church of England’s lead bishop on environmental issues, is writing to all bishops and diocesan secretaries this week, in response to the target set at the General Synod last week to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero by 2030.

The most immediate problem facing the C of E is that it has no idea what its carbon footprint is at present. Bishop Holtam will ask parishes to use a new Energy Footprint Tool to measure the energy they use. The online tool also generates a dashboard to show churches how they compare. For details, see cofe.io/footprint.

Responding to the new target, 15 years before the official recommendation, the Bishop said: “We aren’t under any illusion that this will be easy. Synod’s target sets a serious challenge for the whole Church to examine urgently the steps necessary to achieve the kind of year-on-year carbon reductions we need. This is a national goal which will need more than 16,000 local plans supported by the right policies and resource.

“But the science tells us there’s no time to lose if we are to limit the warming of the planet humans are causing. The tone at Synod was overwhelmingly that Christians should respond urgently to our calling to safeguard God’s creation, and go as fast as we can.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, CoE Bishops, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stewardship