Like a spear thrusting into the Gulf of Mexico’s gut, the Isle de Jean Charles is turbulent with ruinous daily oil and gas accidents, rising sea levels, and tropical storms. Homes on the Isle de Jean Charles perch on delicate wooden stilts thirteen feet high, their paint peeling in the sun. A solitary road snakes down the spine of the shrinking island. Stained American flags billow slowly in the Gulf breeze, affixed to porches where one can catch the nasal tones of plaid-clad men bantering in Cajun French.
The recent IPCC report has received widespread attention. The report states that rapid and bold actions are necessary to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change and that the goals of the Paris Accord will be insufficient. This has resulted in an outpouring of opinion pieces calling for individuals to take actions in their daily lives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to pressure elected officials to take significant steps to support renewable energy.
John Bellamy Foster with Fiona Ferguson, Rebel News, October 11, 2018
After a summer of scorching temperatures and forest fires, John Bellamy Foster—author, environmental sociologist and editor of Monthly Review—was interviewed by Fiona Ferguson about the oncoming threat posed by global warming and what is being dubbed as Hothouse Earth.
I agonized on what to title this short piece, designed to highlight the grave problems facing humanity. Is it too late to reverse the direction of global warming and the inevitable catastrophic effects of climate change, and all the other existential threats to the biosphere? In my opinion, the clock is near midnight, and a blunt assessment and recognition of what the people of the world are now facing, is way overdue. Are we productivist or anti-productivist?
Our best hope now is an immediate return to the flow. CO2 emissions have to be brought close to zero: some sources of energy that do not produce any emissions bathe the Earth in an untapped glow. The sun strikes the planet with more energy in a single hour than humans consume in a year.
By Nic Beuret, Anja Kanngieser, and Leon Sealey-Huggins, Red Pepper, December 20, 2017
The most prominent global conference on climate change – the UNFCCC 23rd Annual Conference of Parties meeting – recently closed with much fanfare, talk of success and ‘being on track’. There was little to indicate that any significant headway had been made to curb the predicted catastrophic levels of global warming however.
During the recent Bonn summit a taxi driver provided a clear summary. Asked what he thought of COP 23, he replied “the climate is in crisis, but here, this is about money”. He had provided what had been missing inside. As we race toward certain and expanding catastrophe, he underscored that profiteering off a destructive cycle production, consumption, shipping, the unnecessary transport of products over vast distances and continuous growth models form the basis from which these discussions are framed. It is as though the elephant in the room is never acknowledged, with few exceptions.
Settling wearily into my Deutsche Bahn seat at the start of a two-day journey back to Uppsala, Sweden, I’ve endeavoured below to capture my early thoughts on the latest attempt to forestall our headlong rush towards oblivion.
On Monday November 13th, climate scientists from the Tyndal center for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia presented their carbon emissions research to the UN climate negotiators at Bonn Germany. The data were shocking: After three years in which human-caused emissions appeared to be leveling off, global CO2 emissions are now rising again to record levels in 2017. Global emissions are on course rise this year by 2%.