Category : Energy, Natural Resources

(Guardian) Some Anglican Leaders call on Church of England to lead on climate change by divesting from ExxonMobil

As Church of England clergy, we have a strong interest in the ethics of investments made by the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board on our behalf.

This week, governments from around the world will meet in Bonn for the next round of UN climate talks. The Paris climate change agreement, which was signed by 195 countries in December 2015, included a commitment to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2C … and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels”.

A lot has happened since then. We have witnessed the shameful decision of the president of the United States to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Average global temperatures have risen to more than 1C above pre-industrial levels. Extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change, have had devastating impacts, leading to loss of life and severe destruction in the US and the Caribbean, Africa, South Asia and as close to home as Ireland.

Read it all and note the signatories.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Corporations/Corporate Life, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stock Market

(NYT Op-ed) Archbp Justin Welby–Our Moral Opportunity on Climate Change

Climate change is the human thumb on the scale, pushing us toward disaster. It is not a distant danger — it is already with us. As we continue to burn fossil fuels, its effects will only grow.

Some years ago I worked in Nigeria, helping to find peaceful solutions to conflicts. Its capital city, Lagos — one of the world’s megacities, with a population estimated at 14 million to 21 million — will most likely experience a sea-level rise of around 35 inches in the next few decades if current warming trends continue.

Even in this best-case scenario, which depends on the global community’s sticking to the Paris climate change agreement, many of the shops I visited and homes I passed during my years in the country will be flooded. The rising waters are already changingways of life and pressuring people to leave their homes. In the coming years, experts predict that millions of peoplein Lagos will be forced to move.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Climate Change, Weather, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria

(Scientific American) Dissolve the Dead? Controversy Swirls around Liquid Cremation

Proponents note that traditional cremation is trending upward in the U.S. In 2015 more people in this country were burned than put in the ground for the first time, according to a report by the National Funeral Directors Association. This fad is driven in part by price: A fire cremation usually costs less than a third of a burial, according to an industry report by market research firm IBISWorld. It also saves on some natural resources; a burial requires land as well as the stone, steel, cloth and wood used to make the casket and gravestone.

Some see alkaline hydrolysis—versions of which go by the names biocremation, aquamation and resomation—as the next big thing for those who want to make an environmentally friendly exit.

The technique has its origins in an 1888 patent for making fertilizer and gelatin, which describes dissolving animal parts in an alkaline solution such as potassium hydroxide. In the 1990s two researchers began disposing of lab animals this way at Albany Medical College in New York State. Their work informed the construction of the first machine that could handle a single human body, built by a company called WR2 and first used in the Mayo Clinic’s anatomical bequest program in Rochester, Minn., in 2006.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Energy, Natural Resources, Eschatology, History, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Secularism

(Local Paper) Some leaders say the time is now to act to save Charleston, South Carolina, from seas which have risen 4.2″ in 33 yrs

Fast-forward 33 years.

The sea level has risen 4.2 inches since then.

Last year, the city’s low-lying areas saw 50 days of nuisance flooding, a record.

Three mega storms in the past three years turned the city of Charleston’s largest medical district into a virtually inaccessible island.

And some city officials still talk about the “generational challenge” that rising seas present.

That doesn’t sit well with Mike Seekings, a city councilman who spent the past few days tromping around city streets as nuisance tides once again cut off thoroughfares in his district.

“Last night between 8:30 and 9 o’clock, there was a foot of water at Broad and Lockwood,” he said. “You can’t live in a city when roads are closed on good days and roads to hospitals are closed on bad days.”

This is no longer a generational challenge, he added. “We’ve been talking about doing things for so long. Let’s start these projects now.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

(Bloomberg) The Church of England Takes on Climate Change—and Generates a 17 Percent Return

Over the Exxon board’s objections, almost two-thirds of shareholders voted for a proposal asking the company to provide a detailed report on how curbing climate change could affect its business. Leading the charge was the giant New York State Common Retirement Fund, which manages $192 billion and is a veteran activist. Its partner was a far smaller and lower-profile newcomer taking one of its first public stands in the U.S.: the Church of England.

Through a £7.9 billion ($10 billion) fund that finances the church’s mission activities, cathedral costs, and clergy pensions, the church has been quietly—and successfully—engaging with European companies in the energy and mining industries for the past few years. BP, BHP Billiton, and Royal Dutch Shell have all voluntarily adopted similar climate change steps to those sought at Exxon.

“We see ourselves as active, rather than activist,” says ­Edward Mason, head of responsible investment at Church Commissioners for England, as the fund is formally known. The Church of England, also known as the Anglican Church, is the state church of England. Christianity came to the country during Roman times, but the church split from Rome in the 16th century under King Henry VIII. Like many socially responsible investors, the church today prefers to engage collaboratively with companies rather than resort to a public brawl.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stewardship, Stock Market

(Local paper Front Page) Sea Rise Study raises a warning flag for Lowcountry South Carolina

In just 18 years — less than the life of some mortgages — rising seas will cause disruptive flooding in about 170 coastal communities across the United States, including Edisto and Kiawah islands, a new analysis says.

Prepared by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy group, the report is said to be the first nationwide attempt to identify tipping points — times and places where flooding is so frequent that residents abandon their land or pump big bucks into projects to hold back the ocean.

No stranger to high water, Charleston already sees regular “nuisance floods” at seasonal high tides, though the problem has grown worse in recent years. Charleston averaged four days of tidal flooding 50 years ago. Last year, the city had a record 50 flooding days, many when the sun shined.

Even so, the city has yet to reach a “chronic inundation” threshold — when 10 percent or more of its usable, non-wetland area floods at least 26 times per year, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists report.

That will change within a couple of generations.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Energy, Natural Resources

(FT) Investors, including the C of E, shine spotlight on coal groups over climate change risk

The world’s largest coal mining companies need to show how they will reduce their carbon emissions to meet global climate targets under the Paris accord, according to an investor-backed group led by the Church of England.

Only two of the 20 largest listed coal companies — Rio Tinto and Brazil’s Vale — have long-term targets for reducing their emissions, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Transition Pathway Initiative, a coalition of investment funds with £4tn under management.

Three coal companies, DMCI Holdings, Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal, and Shougang Fushan Resources Group, do not even acknowledge climate change, the study said. The report comes after the Paris climate change agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels came into effect last November.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

(Local Paper) Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, other S.C. leaders pledge commitment to Paris Climate Agreement

In defiance of President Donald Trump’s announcement last week to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, local and state leaders across the country are pledging to carry out the goals of the international pact to fight climate change.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts signed the statement that supports ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina, and Elizabeth Davis, president of Furman University, are among the other names and entities from the Palmetto State that support the landmark agreement. The list is compiled at wearestillin.com.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, City Government, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

(CBC) Could Anglican Bishop stop Pointe-du-Chêne’s controversial campground project?

The Anglican Bishop of Fredericton could be the man to stop a controversial campground project near Parlee Beach.

Bishop David Edwards was taking a walk in Pointe-du-Chêne on Wednesday, part of an annual pilgrimage he set out to do through the seven archdeaconries of New Brunswick.

But during his morning hike, he was approached by residents concerned about plans for a mega-campsite on Pointe-du-Chêne Road.

The park of 600 to 700 campsites, which Health Minister Victor Boudreau formerly held a stake in, would be the largest in the Maritimes.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Energy, Natural Resources

(Church Times) C of E urged to pull out of fossil fuels

CHRISTIAN AID has challenged the Church of England to disinvest from fossil fuels, after it emerged that the Archbishop of Canterbury was involved in persuading a major investment fund to pull its own money out fossil fuels.

BMO Global Asset Management’s range of “responsible” funds will no longer invest in any company which has reserves of fossil fuels, it an­­nounced on Monday. Archbishop Welby is the president of the firm’s ethical advisory council, and report­edly played a key part in pushing through the change in policy, which will be implemented by 2020.

Christian Aid is now ques­tioning why the Archbishop cannot play the same part closer to home and pull the C of E’s own investments out of fossil-fuel reserves.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stock Market

(Rabbi Jonathan Sacks) Never forget how we, so small, are blessed to be part of a universe so great

I was riveted by a television program this week called The Day the Dinosaurs Died. It was about a team of scientists who’ve been drilling deep into the rock beneath the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico at the precise point where a 9 mile wide asteroid crashed into the Earth 66 million years ago with an impact equal to ten billion Hiroshima atomic bombs. The result was a dense cloud of sulphur that plunged the planet into a global winter, killing the dinosaurs and causing the greatest mass extinction in history. The result was space for small mammals to flourish, including eventually Homo sapiens, i.e. us.

What was fascinating was the scientists’ conclusion that what made the difference wasn’t that the asteroid struck but precisely where. Had it fallen thirty seconds earlier in deep waters, or thirty seconds later on dry land, the impact wouldn’t have been so great. The dinosaurs would have survived and we might never have emerged. Thirty seconds isn’t that long, even in a Thought for the Day, let alone when set against the four and a half billion years of the existence of planet Earth.

Read it all.

Posted in Energy, Natural Resources, History, Judaism, Science & Technology, Theology

(AP) South Carolina Gas Tax Increase Becomes Law After Senate Overrides Vet

The South Carolina Senate has voted to override Gov. Henry McMaster’s veto of the gas tax that raises money to fix roads, meaning the measure will now become law.

The final vote was 32-12. It came nearly two hours after the House also overrode the veto by 95-18 vote.

The move means the measure is now finally approved, and will officially become law on July 1

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, State Government, Taxes

(AJ) Anglican primates of Oceania speak out on climate change

The Anglican primates of Oceania, who have been meeting in Australia, have warned of the threat to their region from climate change. In a joint statement, the five Primates said : “We agreed that as whole nations of ocean people lose their island homes, climate justice advocacy and action must become the most urgent priority for Oceanic Anglicans.”

Archbishop Philip Freier of Australia, Archbishop Clyde Igara of Papua New Guinea, Archbishop Winston Halapua, and Archbishop Philip Richardson of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and Archbishop George Takeli of Melanesia met in Tweed Heads, in New South Wales. They noted that they were four provinces covering many nations, more than 1,000 languages, with rich and diverse cultures. They said they were united through the interweaving of history and long friendships, but were coming together against a backdrop of disharmony:

“We gather at a time when the rhetoric of nationalism, ridicule, fear-mongering, and hatred is so prevalent. In such a climate where ‘me first’ or ‘we first’ dominates, we affirm: ‘we together.’”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

Sunday Mental Health Break–The largest glacier calving ever filmed

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Energy, Natural Resources, Photos/Photography

(CBS News) Rare "firefall" phenomenon at Yosemite National Park

When the sun hits Horsetail Fall in Yosemite National Park at just the right angle, the falls light up as if on fire, attracting spectators from all over hoping to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon, CBS San Francisco reports.

Horsetail Fall is a small waterfall that flows over the eastern edge of El Capitan, the famous rock formation in Yosemite Valley.

For about two weeks in mid to late February, the setting sun creates a deep orange glow when it strikes the waterfall. That orange glow does not happen every year, as it depends on conditions like water flows, clouds and temperature.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Energy, Natural Resources, Photos/Photography