11 Nov 2008

Climate change: local talk, march, 'Coalfinger', petition and more

This post is jam packed with info re climate change - including the talk in Stroud, the wonderful Greenpeace video Coalfinger, the London march plus a petition to sign.

Photo: taken from The Ecologist

2007 CO2 emissions exceed direst expectations

News that the world's carbon dioxide emissions in 2007 exceeded even some of the direst predictions of climate scientists is pretty gloomy to say the least - emissions grew 3 percent from 2006 according to the annual report from the Global Carbon Project. The climb in overall emissions last year was especially surprising to many given the economic downturn that was expected to help curb emissions. Plus for the first time, developing nations took the lead in overall CO2 emissions, accounting for some 53 percent of the total. China was also officially reconfirmed as the world's largest CO2 polluter; it alone accounted for some 60 percent of the rise in worldwide emissions in 2007. The report also found that the world's natural carbon sinks, such as oceans and forests that lock away carbon and keep it out of the atmosphere, have been absorbing some 3 percent less CO2 pollution since 2000 than they did in the first half of the 20th century. Richard Moss of the World Wildlife Fund said: "We should be worried, really worried. This is happening in the context of trying to reduce emissions. We're already locked into more warming than we thought."

Methane dangers

Indeed the national press picked up on news that studies this summer of methane release from thawing underwater permafrost off the northern coast of Russia has led to prediction of an abrupt release of 50Gt of methane at any time. I think this is 100 times the current annual methane emissions (if my figures are right).

Indeed hundreds more methane plumes have been discovered in the Arctic raising fresh fears about it's contribution to global warming - see here and here.

Climate talk in Stroud

Climate Change and Stroud, a talk and more being put on by David Drew is now fixed for 5 December at 7.00 p.m. at the Cotswold Playhouse. Sadly I am already committed to organising something else that night but would strongly urge others to support this.

Coalfinger - great short film from Greenpeace

Just in time for the latest Bond film, they've unleashed their own special agent on the world. Graverson Green is on a mission: to expose the dastardly plot of supervillain Coalfinger and his carbon cronies, who plan to cover the world in coal-fired power stations and destroy the climate in Operation Browncloud. Along with his dopey sidekick Dr. Anthracite, Coalfinger (played by Brian Blessed) plans to cover the world in coal-fired power stations and destroy the climate. Can Green (David Mitchell) stop him? Is a top secret hideout involved? Are there plenty of double entendres?

Watch the film to find out - see here. Greenpeace write: "It may be an animation, but I'm sure you recognise the inspiration for the film. Like Coalfinger, E.on and other energy companies around the world are trying to bring about a coal resurgence, despite the evidence of the impact burning coal has on our climate and our planet. Green on the other hand, reminds us that we need to work together to stop dirty coal plants and fight for clean and renewable energy."

Good and bad news on Obama

Al Gore has said that one of Obama's first acts as US president should be to demand a move to 100% renewable energy within 10 years. During his presidential campaign, Obama promised to invest $150bn (£96bn) in renewables over 10 years as part of the plan to increase US energy security amid fear of oil shortages, while also cutting carbon emissions. Many hope to see those policies enacted with a far-reaching climate-change bill that would bring the US back into the global environment fold. "

Sadly hopes for US president-elect Barack Obama to change tact on missile defence look less likely - he has told Polish President Lech Kaczynski that he will go ahead with plans to build a missile defense shield in eastern Europe despite threats from Russia. See more on previous blogs on this issue here including correspondence with the hunger strikers. See also moves in UK parliament to debate on British involvement in US Missile Defence rather than just accept it - see more at: www.cnduk.org/

Stop EU's Climate Package from being watered down - sign petition

The European Union is currently finalising its so-called "Climate Package" - a set of laws designed to fight climate change and achieve the EU's goal of CO2-reductions. The European Parliament and the 27 Member States will have to agree to a common text within the next month but many fear this is being watered down - see local Green party comment here.

You can help. Write to the leaders of your country and urge them to take the lead in fighting climate change. Major environmental NGO-networks have designed a common website, via which you can send emails easily and quick to MEPs, ministers and heads of states. Go to http://www.timetolead.eu and help keep the temperature low - by putting the heat on the politicians !!!

Local Green party on the new Climate Change Bill

See also here the local Green party welcome the Government’s announcement on its amended Climate Change Bill, but warns that its commitment to expanding aviation and to ‘buying in’ emissions reductions from abroad amount to a ‘double blunder’.

London march on Parliament for the climate

Jonathan Whittaker is organising a coach which will start in The Forest and go through Gloucester, Cheltenham and Cirencester. Details here. Stroud maybe organising a coach but I hope to already be in London for that day.

The march this year goes to Parliament Squareto demand that the government act now on climate. Starts at 12 noon at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park. Climate protest bike ride starts from Lincoln's Inn Fields at 10.30 am: and joins start of march later. See www.campaigncc.org/bikeride.shtml

Speakers will include Nick Clegg MP (leader, Liberal Democrat Party), Michael Meacher MP(ex-environment minister) Caroline Lucas MEP (leader, Green party), and George Monbiot.

To download the leaflet for the National March go to: www.campaigncc.org/resources.shtml

The March on Parliament has four main themes -
1) NO to a 3rd runway at Heathrow and the runaway expansion in aviation expansion.
2) NO new coal - no new coal-fired power stations as planned at eg Kingsnorth in Kent
3) NO to the expansion of agrofuels - with negative impacts on forests, the climate and world food supply.
4) YES to a renewable energy revolution and green jobs

The March on Parliament for the Climate marks the Saturday midway through the UN Climate Talks in Poznan, Poland and we make our demands on the UK government in solidarity with the world's poorest and most vulnerable communities that will suffer worst and most immediately from climate change caused overwhelmingly by the rich long-industrialised countries. We need the government to act now on climate, to stop building coal-fired power stations and new runways - and to begin the renewable energy revolution. We need a tidal wave of people outside parliament to make them act to stop climate catastrophe now! Be part of that tidal wave, be there ! Next year may be too late.

Why so critical now? See: www.campaigncc.org/whynow.shtml

New Zealand elections

Despite their Government coalition partner losing control, the Green Party (with 6.4% of the vote) has increased its tally of seats from 6 to 8, all on the top-up list part of the ballot - it is the third-largest party in the parliament. PR was introduced there in 1996. This canb only be good for raising the awareness and actions to tackle climate change.

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