The Biomass Fraud and the Myth of Decoupling emissions from economic growth.


At the last global climate conference (UNFCCC-COP 23, Bonn 2017), tropical forest countries and others, including Indonesia and Brazil, jointly declared goals “to increase the use of wood … to generate energy as part of efforts to limit climate change”.


A whole deforestation industry has developed around a loophole in the Kyoto Agreement which allowed the burning of Biomass, (wood), to be classified as a “renewable” energy. ie – an emissions free source of energy.

According to the IPCC, a tree emits the same amount of carbon that it sequesters from the atmosphere when growing. A very easy calculation in Land Use Management when assessing deforestation, these amounts are NOT included in global carbon emissions totals as they are rated to have zero emissions, they are ‘accounted for’ under Land Use Emissions in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.

The European Union now openly states that 60% of it’s renewable energy comes from burning wood, countries who have “advanced” renewable energy reductions are those that have invested in Biomass energy production. U.K. Sweden, France Germany, Denmark and Finland, Norway and the U.S.A.

A study found that the annual smokestack emissions from biomass in the EU emission trading system (ETS) – where they are given a zero-rating – are between 90 and 150 million tonnes of CO2 (1)

Over 1 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted over the last 10 years completely unaccounted for. The scientific opinion though is quite clear, as expressed by 800 scientists and researchers in Biomass energy.

“overall, replacing fossil fuels with wood will likely result in 2-3x more carbon in the atmosphere in 2050 per gigajoule of final energy. Because the likely renewable alternative would be truly low carbon solar or wind, the plausible, net effect of the biomass provisions could be to turn a ~5% decrease in energy emissions by 2050 into increases of ~5–10% or even more”. (2)

Bioenergy is not carbon-neutral and can have seriously negative climate impacts. The combustion of forest biomass generally releases more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than fossil fuels, because of the lower energy density and conversion efficiency of biomass (more has to be burnt relative to fossil fuels) (3)

Large-scale forest harvests have a climate warming effect for at least 20 to 35 years, said University of Helsinki climate and forest scientist Jaana Bäck, who noted that scores of evidence-based studies all say basically the same thing. “And if we look at the Paris targets, we are in critical times at the moment. We need to reduce emissions now, not in 50 or 100 years,” she said. (4)

A 2012 study by Synapse Energy Economics estimated that the average smokestack of a US biomass plant emitted about 1.67 tons of CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity generated, or 50 to 85 percent greater than emissions from a coal-fired plant.
CO2 emissions from a biomass plant are more than triple the CO2 emissions from a natural gas facility.

The E.U. is more concerned with the “lobby” from Scandinavian countries who all support Biomass as “renewable energy”, which is IPCC approved. This “fraud” allows countries such as the U.K. to change from coal energy generation using existing facilities to a less potent, more polluting source (wood), and completely hides the emissions associated with economic growth.

This blatant fraud is nowhere better demonstrated than in the European “gem of Carbon Nuetrality”, Copenhagen lauding it’s anti climate strategy in their report to the C40’s Cities report recently.

“Most savings were achieved through increasing the share of green energy from biomass used in the city’s combined heat and power plants, and wind energy. Furthermore, the conversion of a power plant unit from coal to sustainable biomass is underway and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020”; (5)

Oslo, Norway’s “star” climate performer – 99% of the energy sources now consists of heat from the sewer system, recovered heat from waste, bioenergy (pellets and bio-oil) and electricity from hydro power. (5)

This gives countries the ability to prove “decoupling” is actually happening.

Decoupling economic growth from energy emissions

Decoupling economic growth from emissions generation is now the direction of all United Nations departments, and policies, including U.N.F.C.C.C. and I.P.C.C. “Green Growth” is locked into political strategy.

The European Union “fraud” of Biomass, whereby 60% of E.U. carbon emissions are simply ignored allows the advancement of the Myth of Decoupling.

The inclusion of consumption based carbon footprints rather than “territorial footprints”, (emissions produced within a City or country boundary), provided a shock, and a much truer picture of individual consumption habits was shown. This meant a doubling down on “circular economies”, zero waste, and of course more efficiency.
Green Growth is the nadir, and we can keep things exactly as they are under the illusion that emissions are reducing and “green” economic activity (GDP) continues at 2 – 3% p.a.

A study by the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs points towards a 1.4 percent increase of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 due to a combination of accelerated economic growth, relatively cheap fossil fuels and weak energy efficiency efforts.
“While recent evidence points to progress in decoupling emissions growth from GDP growth in some developed economies, it is still manifestly insufficient. The rate of global energy efficiency gains has been slowing since 2015, reaching 1.7 percent in 2017—half the rate required to remain on track with the Paris Agreement”, say the authors of the report ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2018.’ (6)

The authors of the report have no doubt realised this fallacy even more in 2018 when emissions increased to the previous “highs”, providing a 2.7% increase in emitted greenhouse gases from GDP “growth” to record levels.
Ever since the global total of emissions generation either side of the Paris 2015 conference “slowed” to 0.5% there has been over exaggerated optimism about “Decoupling” and how a technological basis to the “service” economy is the “key” to energy efficiency.
Even articles published in 2018 lauding Decoupling as fact, it is mainly based on territorial limits. The countries used as examples all “hide” emissions with Biomass, to a massive extent, AND do not include consumption based emissions, when included, the results are disastrous for Decoupling advocates, but that does not stop the headline.

Decoupling of emissions and incomes: It’s happening .

To account for the effects of globalisation, we make a distinction between production-based and consumption-based emissions, . . This does make some difference to our results and in the expected direction. The evidence for decoupling for the richer nations gets weaker, including for many European countries (France, Germany, Italy, and the UK). (7)

This is not a new debate but as Prof Tim Jackson points out, it is a MYTH.

“It’s vital here to distinguish between ‘relative’ and ‘absolute’ decoupling. Relative decoupling refers to a decline in the ecological intensity per unit of economic output.

Relative decoupling
Put very simply, relative decoupling is about doing more with less: more economic activity with less environmental damage; more goods and services with few resource inputs and fewer emissions.
Decoupling is about doing things more efficiently.
The global carbon intensity declined by almost a quarter from just over 1 kilogram of carbon dioxide per US dollar (kgCO2/$) in 1980 to 770 grams of carbon dioxide per US dollar (gCO2/$) in 2006

Absolute decoupling
The situation in which resource impacts decline in absolute terms is called ‘absolute decoupling’. Needless to say, this latter situation is essential if economic activity is to remain within ecological limits.

Despite declining energy and carbon intensities carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels have increased by 80% since 1970. Emissions today are almost 40% higher than they were in 1990 and since the year 2000 they have been growing at over 3% per year.” (8).

This book was written in 2009, 10 years of worsening emissions and impacts the annual reductions are greatly amplified. It has taken a refining of emissions data, whereby “offshored emissions” from imported goods have finally been accredited to the country of use.

“An apparent reduction in emissions of 6% between 1990 and 2004, as reported under UNFCCC guidelines is turned into an 11% increase in emissions, once emissions embedded in trade are taken into account.
The message here is not that decoupling is unnecessary. On the contrary, absolute reductions in throughput are essential. The question is, how much is achievable? How much decoupling is technologically and economically viable?

The intractability of addressing both population and income has tended to reinforce the idea that only technology can save us. Knowing that efficiency is key to economic progress, it is tempting to place our faith in the possibility that we can push relative decoupling fast enough that it leads in the end to absolute decoupling. But just how feasible is this?

There is a convenient ‘rule of thumb’ to figure out when relative decoupling will lead to absolute decoupling. In a growing population with an increasing average income, absolute decoupling will occur when the rate of relative decoupling is greater than the rates of increase in population and income combined.

The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment report suggests that achieving a 450 ppm stabilisation target means getting global carbon dioxide emissions down to below 4 billion tonnes per annum by 2050 or soon after. This would be equivalent to reducing annual emissions at an average rate of 4.9% per year between now (2008) and 2050.

At an average population growth of 0.7% each year under business as usual conditions,
the decline in carbon intensity just about balances the growth in population and carbon emissions will end up growing at about the same rate as the average income – 1.4% a year. It might not sound much, but by 2050, under these assumptions, carbon emissions are 80% higher than they are today.

To achieve an average year-on-year reduction in emissions of 4.9% with 0.7% population growth and 1.4% income growth, – T (emissions intensity), has to improve by approximately 4.9 + 0.7 + 1.4 = 7% each year – almost ten times faster than it is doing right now.

By 2050 the average carbon content of economic output would need to be less than 40 gCO2/$, a 21-fold improvement on the current global average

Simple arithmetic hides stark choices. Are we really committed to eradicating poverty? Are we serious about reducing carbon emissions? Do we genuinely care about resource scarcity, deforestation, biodiversity loss?26 Or are we so blinded by conventional wisdom that we daren’t do the sums for fear of revealing the truth? (8)

Recent opinion again challenges the notion of “green growth” at a fundamental level,

The notion of green growth has emerged as a dominant policy response to climate change and ecological breakdown. Green growth theory asserts that continued economic expansion is compatible with our planet’s ecology, as technological change and substitution will allow us to absolutely decouple GDP growth from resource use and carbon emissions. This claim is now assumed in national and international policy, including in the Sustainable Development Goals. But empirical evidence on resource use and carbon emissions does not support green growth theory. Examining relevant studies on historical trends and model-based projections, we find that:
(1) there is no empirical evidence that absolute decoupling from resource use can be achieved on a global scale against a background of continued economic growth, and
(2) absolute decoupling from carbon emissions is highly unlikely to be achieved at a rate rapid enough to prevent global warming over 1.5°C or 2°C, even under optimistic policy conditions.

We conclude that green growth is likely to be a misguided objective, and that policymakers need to look toward alternative strategies.(9)
The truth of Biomass, the truth of decoupling, the truth of carbon offsets, “green growth” are fantasies. Having already been sold a fantasy with “Negative emissions technology” and the resulting pushback, the IPCC and E.U. needed “good news” stories. So these fantasies are pushed all the way down the “administrative chain of command” through national and regional governments, down to local government level where they are often a “trusted voice”.


(1) Reasons to change the zero-rated criteria for biomass in the EU ETS March 2015


(3) Open Letter to E.U. from 800 scientists and researchers. £Scientific Basis of E.U. Climate Policy on Forests” Sept 2017.





(8) Prof Tim Jackson, “Prosperity Without Growth” 2009.

(9) Abstract, “Is Green Growth Possible?” – Jason Hickel, Giorgos Kallis April 2019.





The Road to Paris. The U.N.F.C.C.C. Agenda for the 21st Century, where are we going?


Expectations of a climate change agreement in Paris this year were ‘brightsided’ by Christiana Figueres’ vision of a carbon free planet, but in 2100 not 2050.

It has taken over a year for the IPCC 5th A.R. Report to be digested and spread from the science into the policy sphere, and in front of us is pure science fiction.

The energy policy sector is centred on the International Energy Authority and their insistence that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) will enable a “negative emissions” technology to dominate emissions generation post 2050.

The cat has slowly been let out of the bag since February this year when the Guardian reported :

“EU climate chief and UN’s top climate official both play down expectations that international climate talk pledges will help hit 2C target”.

Canete (2)“The European Union climate chief, Miguel Arias Canete, says talks at a major climate summit in Paris this year will not be a failure even if governments fail to keep warming below the dangerous 2C threshold”

The recent comments by Figueres amplify that;

The overwhelming consensus is that Paris 2015 needs to send an unequivocal signal that the world will take a path towards a steep and deep decline in greenhouse gas pollution by the second half of the century.”

The ramifications of the IPCC 5th A.R. report are only just being ‘teased out’, there is a new era dawning, “the Anthropocene”, and the solutions now advocated are suitably heavily reliant on Geo engineering, Negative Emissions Technology, intellectual arrogance, hubris and science fiction.




“Stranded Carbon Assets and Negative Emissions Technologies, a Working Paper” Oxford University.

So we have a technology based IPCC future where the interim years will be the last thrashings of a dying economic system attempting to scour every last $ from the planet’s resources before 2050.

In the process the ‘mythical carbon budget’ becomes a toy for the use of the fossil fuel industry. If an 80% + chance of staying under 2 degrees is chosen, and equity remains a guiding principle, then ALL the carbon budget is allocated to Non Annex 1 countries.

The “Great White Hope” or great white elephant.

ALL IPCC RECOMMENDED emissions reduction progress is based on the continued development of carbon capture and storage. The development programme designed by the IEA shows the 22 established CCS projects up and running or under construction, to be in line with the IEA forecast of 30 plants by 2020. Capturing and storing 40 million tonnes of carbon underground, 0.1% of the 40 BILLION tonnes emitted this year.

HOWEVER, the fact that in 16 of the plants the liquid carbon is being used to pressure pump oil out of hitherto “spent oil wells” makes a farce of CCS being regarded as ‘emissions free’. Even now CCS is regarded as only being 85% efficient so there are fugitive emissions from the process, and a big Uranium sized “storage” question mark.


“In order to explain the extent of the requisite effort I have been using a revealing comparison. Let us assume that we commit initially to sequestering just 20 percent of all CO2 emitted from fossil fuel combustion in 2010, or about a third of all releases from large stationary sources. After compressing the gas to a density similar to that of crude oil (800 kilograms per cubic meter) it would occupy about 8 billion cubic meters—meanwhile, global crude oil extraction in 2010 amounted to about 4 billion tonnes or (with average density of 850 kilograms per cubic meter) roughly 4.7 billion cubic meters.

This means that in order to sequester just a fifth of current CO2 emissions we would have to create an entirely new worldwide absorption-gathering, compression-transportation- storage industry whose annual throughput would have to be about 70 percent larger than the annual volume now handled by the global crude oil industry whose immense infrastructure of wells, pipelines, compressor stations and storages took generations to build.

Technically possible—but not within a timeframe that would prevent CO2 from rising above 450 ppm.”

The staggering growth of the IEA’s CCS industry ‘visioning’, by 2030 it hopes to be storing 2 gigatons of CO2, out of 40+ gigatons.


 “By 2050, CCS is routinely used to reduce emissions from all applicable processes in power generation and industrial applications at sites around the world, with over 7 000 MtCO2 annually stored in the process.”

IEA. Technology Roadmap. Carbon Capture and Storage. P24.

“The IPCC sees CCS capturing as much as 60,000 million tonnes in 2100, a scale 15 times that of the world’s current oil industry. ”

“Various trends make deep emissions reduction unlikely.  There is a lack of global political consensus on the most appropriate strategies to reduce emissions, and we are locking ourselves into a long-lived energy system fuelled mostly by coal, oil and gas. At the same time global population continues to rise, as does the expectation of a higher standard of living – especially in rapidly developing countries pursuing a perfectly equitable growth agenda.

These points lead us to an uncomfortable conclusion: we are already at risk of failing to meet a target that is itself inadequate to avoid dangerous climate change. Against this backdrop of increasingly challenging news, what are our options?”

Many eminent scientists are calling for very deep emissions reductions immediately, whilst a growing part of the “environmental lobby” support a reliance on technology. Time however may cut that short.

The basic mathematics of emissions generation and “the carbon budget” are very simple.

*  The atmosphere contains over 400 ppm CO2. The temperature has risen at least 0.8C.

*  2 degrees temperature increase is accepted as 450 ppm CO2. This is not a “safe” target

*  The world is currently emitting 2 / 2.5 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere every year. 40 Gigatons.

*  In 20 years’ time, (i.e. 2035), at current emissions levels, the atmosphere will contain the level of CO2 to exceed 2 degrees of warming.

What do we know?

1/ China will not peak emissions until 2030, it has a large CCS contribution projected.

2/ India has not completed its INDC, but is talking of a doubling of coal consumption. India’s emissions are not expected to peak until 2045.

3/ Africa, South America, Asia are not expected to peak emissions until 2060

4/ Governments of Annex 1 countries are doing all they can to preserve the “trickle down” neo liberal theory of “sustainable development”.

5/ Western Industrialised Nations need to cut their emissions generation 80% under 1990 levels by 2030 to allow the Non Annex 1 countries what little there is left of the “carbon budget”. Part of the “climate Justice” reparations and principles of “equity”.

6/ The “postponement” of deep emissions reductions until post 2050 (when it is expected that CCS will be fully proven and tested), allows the complete saturation of the core of the earth, down to a level of 1 kilometre, with poisonous liquid carbon. As well as the pernicious cocktail “mainlined” into immediate subsurface through “fracking”.

7/ All Western Industrialised countries are going gangbusters for Bio Mass renewable energy. All emissions reduction strategy used by the IPCC to arrive at under 2 degrees rely heavily on Bio Mass combustion (Bio Energy > B.E). and Carbon Capture and Storage BECCS).

8/ CCS technology, (negative emissions) is regarded as “the silver bullet” precisely because it can “suck carbon out of the atmosphere”, should there be a failure in emissions reductions targets.

The IEA admits,

“The largest challenge for CCS deployment is the integration of component technologies into large-scale demonstration projects. Lack of understanding and acceptance of the technology by the public and some stakeholders also contribute to delays and difficulties in deployment.”

NO large scale demonstration project exists, CCCS may NEVER be proven as safe OR possible, at scale, and yet incredibly, the future of UNFCCC and IPCC emissions reductions strategies relies on CCS.

With the increasing likelihood of there being a carbon budget overshoot, such global ‘net negative emissions’ may be required to actively reduce atmospheric GHG concentrations to safer levels. However, while this type of large scale removal of CO2 may eventually be required, there are two reasons why hoping to reach emissions targets via such an overshoot trajectory is a dangerous alternative to timely mitigation.
First, there are serious limitations to our ability to predict technological and social development over subsequent decades, and thus, the feasibility of large scale deployment  in the future.
Neglecting to reduce emissions now on the assumption that NET’s can recapture emissions in future would be dangerous if NET deployment on the required scale could not then be realised.
There are also significant dangers of passing tipping points, such as the dieback of the Amazon Rain Forest or the rapid collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet, that increase of CO2 levels rise. Once alternative Earth System States have been realised, the system may not return to where it originally started if CO2 concentrations are then reduced.
One thing is certain – without viable Carbon Capture and Storage, large scale post 2050 Negative Emissions Technologies, or Carbon Budget increases, will NOT be available.
It is clear that very large-scale negative emissions deployment, if it were possible, is not in any sense preferable to timely decarbonisation of the energy and agricultural systems.
“Stranded Carbon Assets and Negative Emissions Technologies, a Working Paper” Oxford University. Feb 2015.




The Road to Paris, would you buy a used car from this woman?


As the world again struggles through what is predicted to be the hottest year on record, FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW, it would appear that denialist propaganda is having less impact, but we need to constantly re examine the trust being placed in those who say they want a safe climate for the future.

Twitter-Quote-Christiana-Figueres_735 11

In Spain a heat exhaustion death was reported 12th July (abcnews) and scientists are preparing for next year’s ‘El Nino’ event of similar level to 1998. For the populations of Spain, Australia and the World, the media is silent about any connection between weather events and climate change.

There is no trace of urgency, no sense of direction, and, as with the global finances and systemic change, the can continues to be kicked down the street to provide the ‘lag time’ to extract every last dollar out of the earth’s resources.

01_%2520Langelle_UNFCCC_Gag-1_preview_0In 2013, initiated an open letter objecting to Christiana Figueres’ close ties with the fossil fuel industries within the COP19 at Warsaw. The letter was also signed by 75 organisations from across civil society.

It would be appropriate for a similar initiative to be mounted now with the growth of the ‘Divestment/Leave it in the Ground’ campaign bringing new scrutiny to IPCC projections.

The woman who is guiding the UNFCCC process, Christiana Figueres, closed the ‘Our Common Future’ conference in Paris on July 10th with these remarks.

“The world’s leading researchers on climate have underlined the crucial importance of nations focusing on a long term goal–call it zero emissions, net zero or climate neutrality. The overwhelming consensus is that Paris 2015 needs to send an unequivocal signal that the world will take a path towards a steep and deep decline in greenhouse gas pollution by the second half of the century.”

This recipe for disaster allows business as usual for the next 35 years and then is solely reliant on carbon capture and storage as the ‘silver bullet’ to prevent planetary collapse.

Ms Figueres is well aware of the work of Kevin Anderson who categorically states that if we are interested in preventing 2 degrees of warming an 8/10% emissions reductions pathway is needed immediately. As most economists agree, this is incompatible with a growth economy.

Ms Figueres is also aware that current emissions trajectories predict a 4 / 6 degree celsius temperature increase and yet we are not to have a “steep and deep decline in greenhouse gas pollution” until “the second half of the century”.

Ms Figueres is also aware of the fact that many leading scientists regard 2 degrees as the beginning of the end and the goal should be BELOW 1.5 degrees.


Ms Figueres is also aware that there is NO carbon budget if the world were to set out to achieve 90% CERTAINTY of STAYING UNDER 2 degrees of warming.

Ms Figueres is also aware of the term “climate emergency” being used by the highest qualified scientists in the world. Her response is to move into the world of science fiction where “negative emissions” will be generated from 2050 from technology. Emergency, what emergency?

Geosequestration, third generation nuclear technology, genetically modified food and business as usual from the “Environmentalists” of the Breakthrough Institute have won the day. Andrew Revkin, Nordhaus/Schellenberger, Stuart Brand and their vision of the “Good Anthropocene”, where western industrialised lifestyles can be unaffected, is found to be much more palatable than the Degrowth Transition required.

The highest possible importance is being placed on business as usual, BY the woman who is overseeing the document which will be given to the Paris COP conference in November.

As Naomi Klein points out in her book, “This Changes Everything”, vested interests which have so much influence in the C.O.P. process know very well what the “only” solution can be to achieve climate and social justice. Shutting down the energy generation industry as soon as possible, a recognition of historical responsibility for emissions, including redistribution of wealth/technology with the Third World. Bigger government to regulate the remaining resources left in the world. Regulating the shipping/airline industries and taxing carbon emissions.

The governments that are now issuing the INDC’s to the U.N. are aware of this too.

There is no thought of financially regulating the fossil fuel industry to prevent a climate disaster. No thought of introducing a financial transactions tax to pay for climate change, or to close tax havens in an effort to have corporations ‘pay their share’.

So the U.N.F.C.C.C. has to go ‘cap in hand’ to the private sector for mitigation and adaptation costs immediately ruling out one of the cornerstones of climate change negotiations, equity.

Prepare for more hot summers.

For those interested, the following are extracts from the I.P.C.C. reports of 2007 and 2013 indicating the “emergency situation as it relates to Spain”. Bear in mind that “steep and deep” emissions reductions are now recommended, by Ms Figuerres AFTER 2050, TOO LITTLE TOO LATE.

This is how the 2007 IPCC report saw the future of Europe.


The scenario paints a very desertified Spain being 5 degrees celsius hotter in the summer months by 2090 with up to 50% reduction in rainfall. In some journals Spain is described as becoming an extension of the Sahara Desert. The major problem is that 2.5p.p.m. of co2 is added to the atmosphere every year making the very real possibility of 2 degrees of warming being “locked in” by 2030.


Source IPCC 4th A.R. 2007 p 875.

The 2013 IPCC report has recognised the extreme impacts that are projected for the Mediterranean region and devoted a lot more research and analysis. Southern Europe has been separated and its main climatic heat influence, the African Deserts, have been analysed.



A different methodology has been used to arrive at the regional projections. In 2007, the projections were based on the average of 21 models. The 2013 projections contain the RCP numbered “variations” of emissions projections. The regional maps temperature variations are based on the selection of RCP4.5 which strangely enough has us arriving at 2 degrees !!

In ACTUAL FACT, the emissions trajectory we are on NOW is RCP8.5 which is the extreme emissions trajectory, and will be until 2050 if Christiana Figueres’ recommendations are accepted.


The charts above relate to ‘winter temperature’ increases. Below are anticipated summer temperature increases.

euro7euro8euro9Source IPCC 5th A.R. p1354>

2004 report into Mediterranean Desertification.

Spain desertification (2)



Arctic/Shell article + “Chasing the Ice”.

Here’s an incredible trailer for a new doco, “Chasing the Ice”, detailing a massive “calving event”. Then have a look at how Royal Dutch Shell is contributing perhaps, more than anyone else, to ensuring an ice free industrial zone at the top of the planet.



An oil rig collapsing and other “too bad to think of” Arctic events that could turn a white wilderness into a black environmental hole came closer yesterday when a drilling ship, the ‘Kulluk’, owned by SHELL, drifted in stormy weather before being driven on to rocks on Kodiak Island.shell_aground3


Royal Dutch Shell have been ‘gung ho’ to get their teeth stuck into some cold icy water since last summers “Big Arctic Melt” saw the “VOLUMN” of arctic summer ice fall to 25% of the level in the 1980’s. Ice free Arctic summers are now forecast by a growing number of scientists as alarming new reports about increasing Methane levels from the Arctic seas .  823564784554645-7

Undaunted, Royal Dutch Shell continue throwing billions at the possibility of destroying the Arctic. The now grounded Kulluk had completed preliminary drilling and was returning to ice free waters when it ran aground. It had hoped to accomplish much more this (2012) Arctic summer, HOWEVER a second drill ship, the Discoverer, was briefly detained in December by the coastguard in Seward, Alaska, because of safety concerns. A mandatory oil-containment barge, the Arctic Challenger, failed for months to meet coastguard requirements for seaworthiness and a ship mishap resulted in damage to a critical piece of equipment intended to cap a blown well.

HELP STOP THE INDUSTRIALISATION OF THE ARCTIC WILDERNESS – Go to the Greenpeace website now and leave your support.


4 degrees warming by 2040 – at least the truth is out.

When the WORLD BANK, PriceWaterhouse Cooper, and the International Energy Authority release reports warning of global warming reaching 6 degrees by 2100, the work of climate scientists such as America’s Dr James Hansen and England’s Dr Kevin Anderson stand out as being people that should be listened to.

The international energy agency’s (IEA) view on climate change –


“on track for a 3.5°C rise by 2040”      (i.e. 4.2°C relative to preindustrial)
“When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius, which would have devastating consequences for the planet.”
“we have 5 years to change the energy system – or have it changed”
Fatih Birol – IEA chief economist

Kevin Anderson, gave this lecture, in Bristol U.K. in Nov 2012 – “From Rhetoric to Reality”, he lays out the grim reality of climate change, and our inability to address it globally. Anderson has become the U.K. equivalent of Prof James Hansen in the ability to communicate the inescapable reality which “business as usual” will bring.



We are currently heading for 4 degrees C of warming and planning for 2 degrees C. As Anderson points out, that’s ass backwards. Further, he sees absolutely no way we can meet those targets, given the rapid industrialisation of China and the emerging economies, and the current state of global political inaction.

WORLD BANK. – Turn Down The Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – Even to have a reasonable prospect of getting to a 4°C scenario would imply nearly quadrupling the current rate of decarbonisation.

International Energy Authority

Kevin Anderson: “Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy, but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse”

Dr Kevin Anderson is the Deputy Director of the UK Tyndall Centre and is an expert on greenhouse-gas emissions trajectories. He gave this lecture in 2011 warning of the VERY STEEP emissions decent required to keep global temperature increases under 2 degrees. It’s 80 minutes long and gives a very detailed answer to projected emissions reduction scenarios.



18 months later he is interviwed by Rob Hopkins for Transition Culture website, and the message is no better especially as  “Sandy” came and went and left a calling card costing up to $50 billion dollars for a weeks work.

“I think the rhetoric that we should not exceed this 2°C rise is still there. . . . . . It’s not just about our emissions now.  If you look at the emissions we’ve already put out into the atmosphere since the start of this century, and you look at what’s likely to be emitted over the next few years, then I think it tells a very different story.  It’s hard to imagine that, unless we have a radical sea-change in attitudes towards emissions, we will avoid heading towards a 6°C rise by the end of this century.  . . . . . . . .the Annex 1 (developed countries) .. . . . . In those parts of the world, the rate of reduction in emissions that would be necessary for us to even stay within an outside chance of avoiding dangerous climate change, characterised by the 2°C rise that we’re all internationally committed to, would be in the order of around 10% per annum.”                         

Film on what a 6 degree warmer planet ‘may’ look like from National Geographic ;

And some chilling words from Yvo de Boer the UN climate chief during the 2009 Copenhagen climate change talks who last year openly stated that the target of 2 degrees was ‘impossible’.

The IPCC’s fifth assessment report is due to be published in late 2013 and early  2014. “That report is going to scare the wits out of everyone,” Mr de Boer said  “I’m confident those  scientific findings will create new political momentum.”  He said superstorm Sandy may spur more Americans, and people elsewhere, to  consider the risks of climate change, but warned: “It’s a bit like being shocked  into stopping smoking when you’ve been told you’ve got terminal cancer.”


Hurricane Sandy meets the Arctic. The “big refreeze” of the Arctic after extraordinary record summer ice loss pushes stronger cold air currents southwards, on course to meet late season northward moving tropical hurricanes, fuelled by the warmer waters of the Atlantic.   . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . New Orleans, Brisbane, Bangkok and now New York.



And a NASA time lapse film of Sandy . . .



“It’s Global Warming, Stupid” . . . . . . . .

Bloomberg Business week ran the headline above this call for sanity on climate change

Bloombergs Business coverage had this footage of Sandy ‘live’ from New York.

“What $20B of Damage Looks Like”

Mike Reynolds, how to Start Again.

Mike Reynolds has been a constant campaigner for eco living, fighting against planning and building regulations to the point where he can no longer practice as an architect. His globally acclaimed documentary “Garbage Warrior” was seen as an example of how the building of the future could follow ecological principles. Whilst filming a programme on “the nuclear” industry in Los Alamos U.S.A., “Democracy Now” presenter Amy Goodman, interviewed Mike Reynolds.



This is Mike Reynold’s “Earthship” website and here’s the Australian Earthship website ;

2-4D IN THE FOOD CHAIN, “how would you like your breakfast sir, with or without poison”.

As the American ‘corn belt’ shrivels under the extended drought, the future of food has taken an amazing turn as DOW AGROSCIENCES  ‘proudly’ announces the introduction of 2,4D into the food chain.


A predictable ‘glyphosphate immunity’ was evident less than 5 years after the introduction of  Monsanto’s “Round-Up Ready” seeds. Now, of the 200 million acres a year sprayed with Round Up, 15 million acres is affected by “giant Ragweed” which is able to survive 24 TIMES the recommended usage.

GMO food is regarded by ALL world authorities and governments as the “silver bullet” for the looming food crisis to feed the expected population of 10 billion people by 2050. Monsanto’s early promise   was absolutely shredded by a new report detailing the usage of chemicals in agriculture. 

The promise ;         “Roundup agricultural herbicides and other products are used to sustainably and effectively control weeds on the farm. Their use on Roundup Ready crops has allowed farmers to conserve fuel, reduce tillage and decrease the overall use of herbicides.”

The report  ;   “Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. — the first sixteen years.”

found that ;  Monsanto’s Roundup Ready technology, which dominates corn, soy, and cotton farming, has called forth a veritable monsoon of herbicides, both in terms of higher application rates for Roundup, and, in recent years, growing use of other, more-toxic herbicides. Overall, GMO technology drove up herbicide use by 527 million pounds, or about 11 percent, between 1996  (when Roundup Ready crops first hit farm fields) and 2011. For several years, the Roundup Ready trait  actually did meet Monsanto’s promise of decreasing overall herbicide  use—herbicide use dropped by about 2 percent between 1996 and 1999. But then weeds started to develop  resistance to Roundup, pushing farmers to apply higher per-acre rates.  In 2002, farmers using Roundup Ready soybeans jacked up their Roundup  application rates by 21 percent, between 2009 and 2010 alone, herbicide use  jumped 24 percent.

The report’s author, Chuck Benbrook, research professor at Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, cites 2,4D use on corn crops went from 4.4 million pounds in 1995 to 2.4 million in 2000 before jumping to 3.3 million pounds in 2010, as farmers increasingly resorted to it to attack Roundup-resistant weeds. If 2,4-D resistant corn is widely adopted, 2,4-D use will hit 103.4 millon pounds on corn fields per year by 2019. Overall, Benbrook projects a 30-fold increase in 2,4-D applied between 2000 and 2019. Because 2,4-D is so toxic, the result will not be pretty.

Such a dramatic increase could pose heightened risk of birth defects and other reproductive problems, more severe impacts on aquatic ecosystems, and more frequent instances of off-target movement and damage to nearby crops and plants.

BBC News has a full expose titled ; “Agent Orange chemical in GM war on resistant weeds”



Scottish fish farmers use record amounts of parasite pesticides

Farmers have been forced to increase amount of chemicals as the sea lice parasite becomes resistant to treatment.

Do the Math, postscript 3. How would you like your planet sir, with or without ice?

Since 1979, the volume of summer Arctic sea ice has declined by 75% and accelerating.…  This video by Andy Lee Robinson illustrates the dramatic decline from 1979 until September 2, 2012.

Bad news comes in 3’s, so here’s the third installment of “melt news” from this summer.

1/ Greenland ice melt hit a record.

2/ Surface sea ice area minimum hit a record.

3/ Surface sea ice VOLUME has also hit a record low. The importance of this is when thickness is reduced the ice is susceptible to break up caused by storms and wave movement. It also provides a less stable base for new ice forming.

We have already seen this summer that melting ice on Greenland reached altitudes 2 – 3 kilometers above sea level causing an unprecedented 97% of Greenland to experience melting ice. (below).

The next data set showed a dramatic increase in melting of the Greenland ice sheet this northern summer, breaking the previous record ice melt on Greenland in 2010.

At the same time a new record low in summer Arctic sea-ice COVER broke the 2007 sea ice surface cover record minimum. (below).

Average July through September Arctic sea ice extent 1870-2008 from the Un. of Illinois (Walsh & Chapman 2001 updated to 2008) and observational data from NSIDC for 2009-2011.  Black vertical dashed lines indicate the years 1938-43, used by some sceptics to repeat the tired old line of “natural variation” being responsible for this years melt..
Arctic sea ice extent from August 2012 from NSIDC (purple) overlaid on a map of sea ice extent in August 1938 from the Danish Meteorological Institute.  Red symbols indicate direct observations in 1938. (below).
Thirty years ago, the summer sea-ice extent was around 7.5 million square kilometres, but this year it will end up at half that figure.
Sea ice volume hit a new low with this years total being APPROX 75% OF THE AVERAGE VOLUME SINCE SATELLITE RECORDING BEGAN. 
There seems to be no doubt in the scientific community that the “melt is on”. Forcing almost 20 billion tones of CO2 eqv. into the atmosphere every year is unlike ANY ‘natural’ forcing experienced for at least 10,000 years.
 Arctic temperature change reconstructed by Kaufmann et al. (2009) including data updated for and including instrumental measurements for the Arctic region (60 to
90° N) from



SIGN THEIR PETITION AT to stop this before it starts.

Greenpeace activists have chained themselves to anchor lines preparing to launch Shell’s Arctic exploration. This seasons ice melt has been calamitous, with  outcomes for the coming decades, which the 2007 I.P.C.C. reports  put “towards the end of the century”.

George Monbiot’s latest article forces the environment movement to consider whether the term “Sustainability” is now a dirty word ;

“As I write, activists from Greenpeace, whom I regard as heroes, are chained to Gazprom’s supply vessel, preventing the rig from operating. These people are stepping in where all governments have failed. David Cameron, who still claims to lead the greenest government ever, is no longer hugging huskies. In June he struck an agreement with the Norwegian prime minister “to enable sustainable development of Arctic energy”. Sustainable development, of course, means drilling for oil.”

For millions of years the Arctic ice has regulated the planets temperatures to a level conducive to human habitation, this years record melt eclipses the 2007 “record” with 3 weeks of the summer season left.

Good idea for a warming planet, grow your own food.

Once upon a time the U.S. government offered good advice in uncertain times as the above poster from 1917 shows. The uncertainty of those days was not settled until the end of the 2nd WW and a period of stability (relative) achieved which saw previously undreamed of prosperity able to be claimed by all, even amongst a surging global population – until now that is.

“Food Security” is now a buzz phrase due to the avalanche of ‘fast food’ outlets and reduction of the availability of fresh nutritious food in what is now termed “food deserts”. Obesity, diabetes and many other health issues can be a direct result of what we put in our mouths, and it can be seen that placing the stewardship of nutrition from “cradle to grave”, into the hands of the “market” has led to the ‘maladministration’ of the health of society.

There is no doubt that an appreciation of the needs of starving millions prompted the “Green Revolution”, sadly, it was brought about by blind adherence to applying petro-chemically derived “NPK” to ‘industrial agriculture’ on a scale large enough to feed the world. “Get big or Get out” was a mantra which drove the post war food industry where “supply security” was the focal point of farming. Theoretically the trickle down of this global prosperity and green revolution can feed the world, at population levels of “the last century”. However, over 1 billion people still remain below the poverty line ($1.25 per day) and another 2 billion are said to be below what western society would call a “subsistence” level.   There has been a stark reminder that the rules applying to “last century”, no longer apply as the world adds 1 BILLION people to the planet every 12 years. Genetically modified organisms are now being touted to be the scientific answer, pushing food production into the realm of science fiction, and food monopolies into the bank balances of global corporations. Not only is the thought of the existing 7 billion becoming 9, 10 or more billion challenging enough, even with GMO, but no one has had a real handle of what effects a warming planet will add to the mix.

The “Arab Spring” of 2010 and ongoing has been attributed to many issues of democracy, governance, foreign interference etc, but as BoB Marley pointed out many years ago ;

“A hungry man is an angry man,        A hungry mob is an angry mob”

The flash point came as the effects of the Russian drought hit, and all grain exports were stopped to service the domestic population.  This caused a 40% increase in the price of basic global foodstuffs. What happened then was not new, but there is an additional factor which is appreciated by many of the world’s leading scientists that the frequency and intensity of drought conditions will increase. The U.S. is now experiencing its second year of drought. Last year it was Texas, this year it is 85% of the whole country. A by-product of this is the collapse of the corn harvest, highlighting the stupid practice of corn being used as an ethanol fuel base feeding cars instead of feeding people.

Similar conditions can be seen in the Mediterranean  where wildfires are raging through Greece, Bosnia and Spain, countries not new to wildfires but identified in I.P.C.C. climate reports as being particularly susceptible to warmer temperatures, a precursor to wildfires.

From an economic perspective Dmitri Orlov gives a dire warning, it is the “supply chains” that will be hit first. The ‘Russian experience’ demonstrated that shops and supermarkets were suddenly emptied of produce, then things got worse.

A GOOD IDEA. Grow your own food.    The ABC’s Gardening Australia website gives an easy to learn example of how this can be achieved with the “No-Dig” garden which can be established on almost any type of surface. It is advocated by Permaculture and is practised in many countries where space is at a minimum. The English and European tradition of allotment gardens is undergoing a resurgence and makes it possible to share ideas and food within the community.

Community gardens have many benefits such as preservation of the environment, a place of encounter with many different types of people, an education forum for recycling, composting the 40% of food waste sent to landfill, healthy eating as well as information and reflection around issues like food sovereignty, food crisis and the ecological footprint. It is also important to consider that in the urban areas of many countries, public land is OWNED by the public, – it may well be time to consider what is the best use of that public land.













To see some very sharp visuals of “food security” visit ;

SPOIL : Brazil – the Amazon Basin and the Olympics, what to expect in 2016.

The world has spoken. The success of the Olympic games in London showed global support for ‘business as usual’, for a continuation of the march of society toward prosperity. We like this institution, and we want it in our future, and only a watermelon could argue with that. (Green on the outside, Red on the inside)

Who could deny the unbridled joy and exaltation of the thousands of athletes who have given their lives for a moment of glory. Some to fail, some to win, is this Andy Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame” ? Tears were shed on this side of the screen as hope and expectation turned rhythmically from dust to gold and back to dust.

But there was also a trace of sadness in the tears as the inevitability of Rio 2016 saw through the moments of joy to the accompanying inevitability of the “progress in train”.

The ‘budget’ London Olympics (using many existing facilities), still cost £19 billion, to bring Brazil to the world stage will cost much more. Brazil is one of the ‘BRIC’ countries that have been experiencing high growth rates over the last 10 years. At present ‘ponzi scheme’ growth has slowed in Brazil as in China and India. Brazil is even borrowing failed policies from industrialised countries to provide “stimulus” to “keep the dream alive”.


Brazil plans to build 21 dams in the Amazon Basin to fuel and maintain the economic growth that has reportedly lifted 30 million Brazilians out of poverty, and provide the impetus to repeat the medicine for the remaining 60 million poor. The problem of the Rio+20 environment summit “encroaching” on these proposals can be seen as a very motivating factor in the abject failure of the summit to produce anything of ecological value, except for the following ;

“The expansion of trade with China can be infinite,” said Brazil’s Finance Minister Guido Mantega, as he announced a new bilateral deal on the sidelines of the Rio+20 sustainability conference. “China is fast growing and wants to stimulate consumption so they will continue to buy our commodities. There are no limits.”

The Rio+20 conference produced an “occupation” of the Belo Monte dam site by Indigenous Brazilians who will be severely impacted by the project, and went largely unreported due to the ‘predetermined’ Rio + 20 outcome It is the 3rd largest hydroelectric dam in the world

It was important for Brazil to be able to strut the world stage confidently with its contribution to “social well-being” established in its own country. But if the experience of South Africa hosting the World Cup is an indication of “developing”,  it will be a disastrous experience.

The indigenous leaders, representing the Xikrin, Juruna, Arara, Parakanã, Kuruaya and Kayapó tribes, are led an occupation by approximately 300 people at the main earthen coffer dam that cuts across channels of the Xingu River.  The occupation began on June 21, in the midst of the Rio +20 conference, halting construction at the site. The majority of the occupiers come from a region of the Xingu downstream of Belo Monte that will suffer from a permanent drought provoked by the diversion of 80% of the river’s flow into an artificial dam to feed the powerhouse.

We don’t seem to be speaking the same language . . . .

On the 15th August a group of judges from Brazil’s Regional Federal Tribunal (TRF1) upheld an earlier decision that declared the Brazilian Congress’s authorization of the project in 2005 to be illegal. The decision concludes that the Brazilian Constitution and ILO Convention 169, to which Brazil is party, require that Congress can only authorize the use of water resources for hydroelectric projects after an independent assessment of environmental impacts and subsequent consultations with affected indigenous peoples.

As well as the Olympics in 2016, Brazil is host to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. “President Dilma Rousseff will invest nearly $69 billion to improve transportation systems by the end of 2014. There are big demands on Brazil to improve its transportation systems before the nation hosts the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Brazil has long been beset by bottlenecks at its ports, railways, roadways and airports. Experts say that hobbles Brazil’s economic growth by making it difficult and costly to get the nation’s bountiful commodities to foreign markets.”

12.5% of the total freshwater in the world.

The 21 dams reflect the “trend” to hydroelectric power in ‘developing’ countries – (the Asian ‘Tiger’ economies are planning their future electricity needs on over 100 dams planned for the Mekong Delta) – and will cost Brazil almost $50 billion to construct by 2021. But Brazil  which overtook the UK as the world’s sixth biggest economy last year, and is now the worlds leading exporter of soy beans and beef is now going all out for more economic growth. The Belo Monte dam will flood 500km2 of land in the Brazilian state of Para and displace at least 20,000 indigenous people, and is billed as a silver bullet to Brazil’s blackouts and as a means to bring power to people across the country, but a conservative estimate earmarks 40% of Belo Monte’s capacity for the mining industry.

President Lula da Silva began the dam process with Rousseff as his environment minister, since she became President environment laws have been wound backwards. She issued an executive order to shrink or repurpose seven protected woodlands, making way for hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure projects, and to legalize settlements by farmers and miners.

Brazil’s well-established environmental movement is aghast. Rousseff’s policies, they say, endanger the world’s largest rainforest, the storehouse of one-eighth of the planet’s fresh water, a primary source of its oxygen and home to countless rare and undiscovered plant and animal species, as well as tens of thousands of native tribespeople. The short-term economic gain, Rousseff’s critics say, isn’t worth the potential long-term cost to the global environment, as well as Brazil’s economy.

“This is a government willing to sacrifice the resources for thousands of years in exchange for a few decades of profit,” says Marina Silva, a former environment minister and a pioneer of Brazil’s green movement.

Rousseff recently touted figures showing that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon fell to a record low in the 12 months ended July 2011, the most recent yearlong period for which data is available. Total land cleared – about 6,400 square kilometers, was down 77 percent from 2004, a trend that preliminary data suggests has continued in recent months. The Brazilian Amazon is home to 40% of the world’s tropical forest and one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. About 54% of the area is under environmental protection, and in the past five years, stricter controls and better compliance have driven deforestation rates down to a historical low. The push for economic development, reversing protection for areas in the Amazon Basin, approving hydroelectric projects and removing federal officers who police the Brazilian Forest Code will see a reversal of that trend.

A recent report by the University of East Anglia has identified Jaguars, tapirs, giant anteaters and spider monkeys have become “virtually extinct” in Brazil’s Atlantic forest, while other species are being lost faster than previously believed due to the fragmentation and emptying of the once dense canopy by farmers and hunters. The authors of the study say their findings have global implications for conservation because they confirm the quantity of forest cover is an unreliable indicator of biodiversity – more important is the quality of the forest and the measures taken to protect the fauna within it.

The two-year research project, which was led by the University of East Anglia, looked for signs of 18 mammal species in 196 fragmented areas of forest. They found little more than a fifth of the 3,528 possible mammal populations. White-lipped peccaries, a native pig species, were completely wiped out. Many others were on the brink of disappearing.

“We uncovered a staggering process of local extinctions of mid-sized and large mammals,” said Gustavo Canale of the State University of Mato Grosso, which was a partner on the study which is published in the journal Plos One.

About 90% of the original Atlantic forest, which once covered an area of about 1.5m km sq (about six times the size of Britain) has been converted to agriculture by cattle ranchers, cocoa farms and rubber plantations.

The focus of the study was on the thousands of clumps of forest – many no bigger than a football pitch – that were left behind. Together they add up to a sizeable area, which previously prompted some scientists to assume they may provide a viable habitat for wildlife.

However, the authors of the new research say that no matter how pristine forest fragments appear from the outside, they are quickly emptied of all but the smallest creatures due to “edge effects” which make fauna more vulnerable to fire and hunting.

Forest clearing has already claimed casualties, but the animals lost to date in the rainforest region are just one-fifth of those that will slowly die out as the full impact of the loss of habitat takes its toll. In parts of the eastern and southern Amazon, 30 years of concerted deforestation have shrunk viable living and breeding territories enough to condemn 38 species to regional extinction in coming years, including 10 mammal, 20 bird and eight amphibian species.

Writing in the journal Science, Robert Ewers and his co-authors reconstructed extinction rates from 1970 to 2008, and then forecast future extinction debts

“For now, the problem is along the arc of deforestation in the south and east where there is a long history of forest loss. But that is going to move in the future. We expect most of the species there to go extinct, and we’ll pick up more extinction debt along the big, paved highways which are now cutting into the heart of the Amazon”.

Let the Games begin.

Do the math – Postscript 2, Artic “death spiral”.

Greenland melt index (2012 red bar)

Melting over the Greenland ice sheet melt shattered the seasonal record on August 8 — a full four weeks before the close of the melting season, reports Marco Tedesco, assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences at The City College of New York.

The melting season in Greenland usually lasts from June — when the first puddles of meltwater appear — to early-September, when temperatures cool. This year, cumulative melting in the first week in August had already exceeded the record of 2010, taken over a full season, according to Professor Tedesco’s ongoing analysis.

“With more yet to come in August, this year’s overall melting will fall way above the old records. That’s a goliath year — the greatest melt since satellite recording began in 1979,” said Professor Tedesco.

The film clip below details how the melting Artic ice impacts northern hemisphere weather patterns by equalising the temperature differences between the Artic and the Equator. As this happens cold Jet Stream air does not penetrate as far south from the Artic therefore causing more heatwaves, drought and wildfire susceptibility.

Do the maths, goodbye Artic, goodbye Coral Reefs.

Several scientists and environmentalists have recently published pictures of the future which, under “normal” circumstances would provoke some kind of dramatic response.

“Greenland ice sheet reflectivity at record low, particularly at high elevations”


Ice sheet reflectivity is crucial in that the opposite means greater heat absorbtion, which, in an area covered in ice and snow, becomes an irreversable loop. The system collapse has been caused by a mere 0.8 degree C global increase in temperatures, current trajectory is for a 4 – 6C average warming by 2100. Artic air temperatures have risen 4C since 1980 but this a minor factor. The chief culprit in “calving” events such as the glaciers shed from the Peterman Glacier in NW Greenland in 2010 and again this week in 2012 is WATER TEMPERATURE.

Peterman glacier ‘calving’ in 2010.

and below last week.



These events are a prime indicator of irrevrsible ice loss as NASA’s website indicates, caused by the 22,000,000,000 tonnes of CO2 human beings ‘force’ into the atmoshere.  “Even if the ice declined a large amount in one year, it should bounce back,” says Walt Meier of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, research shows a permanent alteration. According to data from the past five years, the Arctic sea ice has not recovered from the 2007 extreme low. “The system has passed a tipping point,” he says.

Perhaps the most staggering image from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre (below) is this years ‘ice cover total’ and it’s departure (mostly on the Atlantic side) from the 1979 – 2000 average ice cover.



ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD, the same WATER TEMPERATURE INCREASE has even more dramatic effects ;

“A World Without Coral Reefs”  was a New York Times op-ed last week by Roger Bradbury, expressing the very reasonable fear that Pacific Coral reef systems would collapse within a generation. Given the thin precarious temperature range under which pacific reefs survive, other oceanographers such as Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, have been long time outspoken advocates of a reduction of carbon emissions which is the root cause of ocean acidification. Other issues such as overfishing and shoreline pollution from land based uses and waste play destructive roles



See also

Bill McKibben published a stunning article inviting readers to analyse 3 simple numbers which combine to provide “Global warming’s terrifying New Math”

2 degrees celsius.

The only significant agreement from the Copenhagen Climate Conference was to limit temperature increases to 2 degree or less. This provides a “carbon budget” to apply between 2009 and 2050.

The Second Number: 565 Gigatons

The “carbon budget” means humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into  the atmosphere. The 565-gigaton figure was derived from one of the most sophisticated  computer-simulation models that have been built by climate scientists around the  world over the past few decades. And the number is being further confirmed by  the latest climate-simulation models currently being finalized in advance of the  next report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. CO2 emissions last year  (2011) over 32 gigatones, at that rate, we’ll blow through our 565-gigaton allowance in 16 years,

The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons

This  number is the scariest of all, highlighted last summer by the Carbon Tracker Initiative. The number describes the amount of carbon  already contained in the proven coal  and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think  Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies. In short, it’s the  fossil fuel we’re currently planning to burn. And the key point is that this new  number – 2,795 – is higher than 565. Five times higher

We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate  scientists think is safe to burn, this coal and gas and oil is still technically in the soil. But it’s  already economically aboveground – it’s figured into share prices, companies are  borrowing money against it, nations are basing their budgets on the presumed  returns from their patrimony. It explains why the big fossil-fuel companies have  fought so hard to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide – those reserves are  their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value.

CO2 emissions by fossil fuels [1 ppm CO2 ~ 2.12 GtC, where ppm is parts per million of CO2 in air and GtC isgigatons of carbon] via Hansen.  Significantly exceeding 450 ppm risks several severe and irreversible warming impacts. [Estimated reserves and potentially recoverable resources are from U.S. EIA (2011) and German Advisory Council on Global Change (2011). We are headed toward 800 to 1,000+ ppm, which represents the near-certain destruction of modern civilization as we know it — as the recent scientific literature makes chillingly clear]

Read more:


THE WORLD GROANS yet again at the unimaginable contortions governments will go to SALVAGE THE WRECK of the financial industry. The Environment, Climate Change, targets for decreasing emissions, the imminent death of global coral reef systems, biodiversity loss and ocean acidification, just get kicked down the road as easily as the solutions to the fundamental flaws in society.

But this is different, this is beyond “AMBIVALENCE”, it is “willing blindness”.  A determined strategy to re-start the engines of growth which hammers the final nail in the coffin. There is a point to this ignorance, to demonstrate the “sense of entitlement” of human beings, their arrogance and hubris. To wilfully ignore blindingly obvious evidence of imminent environmental collapse, akin to sanctioning mass murder.

The BBC documentary “Global Wierding” spotlighted the U.K.’s experience with savage weather extremes and this was expanded by YALE Forum on Climate Change and through U.S. scientists highlighting the “new normal” in America. Jeff Masters and Jennifer Francis give a “spellbinding” demonstration of the “Jetstream” air currents and their impact (thro’ Artic temperature increases) are a driver of “extreme weather”.





THE NEW YORK TIMES published an Op Ed piece entitled ;

A World Without Coral Reefs By ROGER BRADBURY, speculating on the imminent destruction of The Great Barrier Reef and the Pacific Reef System

“Zombie ecosystems” caused by overfishing, ocean acidification and pollution are pushing coral reefs into oblivion. Overfishing, ocean acidification and pollution have two features in common. First, they are accelerating. They are growing broadly in line with global economic growth, so they can double in size every couple of decades. Second, they have extreme inertia — there is no real prospect of changing their trajectories in less than 20 to 50 years. In short, these forces are unstoppable and irreversible. And it is these two features — acceleration and inertia — that have blindsided us.

Jellyfish swarms wash up on Costa del Sol in the U.K. Telegraph highlights the natural processes now in chain of ocean acidification preventing the formation of ‘shelled’ predators and destruction of plant matter (coral reefs) that rely on a very narrow temperature range for survival.

OVERFISHING and biodiversity loss in the Mediterranean has lead to a vast reduction in natural predater abundance around SPAIN (swordfish, marlin, and turtle) – so with warmer water temperatures, “the once in 10 year” infestation of the Med coast line, has, since 2002, been ANNUAL.

Over the past weekend, more than 1,000 people sought first aid treatment along the Malaga coast.


Major Cities air quality such as Madrid (pictured), and Barcelona have consistently exceeded  European Union levels even tho’ enjoying wonderful public transport systems – many cities still struggle to find effective answers to constant advertising of ‘snappy new cars’ and S.U.V.’s. Shipping remains a completely uncontrolled source of toxic emissions from the massive ramp up of global trade spewing sulphur and nitrous oxides over coastal communities.

It is clear that excess nitrogen is not good for our environment; it is also not good for our health. Reactive nitrogen is an important driver of air pollution worldwide and as sulphur emissions have lessened, nitrogen is now the principal acidifying component in acid rain.  Nitrogen may join with oxygen to form nitrogen oxide (NO), a precursor of smog, and also a respiratory irritant. Nitrogen oxides, along with volatile organic compounds, contribute to the formation of ground level ozone, nitrous oxide (N20) is also one of the three most important greenhouse gases, being almost 300 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The nitrogen cycle and health by Elizabeth Cullen

In June 2009 Deutsche Bank launched the Carbon Counter opposite New York’s Grand Central Station. The amount of carbon in the atmosphere was 3.64 TRILLION METRIC TONNES. ON TODAY’S INSPECTION THE NUMBER WAS –




STARTING AGAIN, one thing that works, PERMACULTURE.

GEOFF LAWTON gave this TedTalk earlier this month explaining the progress and development of Permaculture.


There is no doubt that environmentalists can be seen to grasp at straws as each new scientific report points to collapse but Geoff Lawton points to very positive secure systems creation.

David Holmgren was the inspiration and co-founder of Permaculture with Bill Mollison. The Australian pair wrote the foundation and launched what would become a blindingly succesful programme. Permaculture is a Global phenomenon, highlighting it’s effectiveness through adoption in Cuba when trade and oil embargos forced a drastic rethink of agricultural practices. Havana now supplies 90% of it’s fruit & vegetable needs from over 200 community gardens in the capitol.

The global movement of Transition Towns has Permaculture at its heart, and it is aligning with traditional patrimony of community gardens the world over to provide an environmental alliance that is only now emerging as food security becomes a major problem.

David Holmgren gave this talk recently.



Geoff Lawton gives the steps needed to produce a “Forest Garden”, a very simple process which has soil fertility as its destiny.



For more information on Permaculture ;

The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia ;

NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY    “Introduction to Permaculture”                  

31lectures ;

RIO + 20, “INSIPID?”, no much worse.

The stunning truths of Agenda 21 (from the ’92 Rio Earth Summit) were discarded, no mention of addressing consumption and production, ecological limits, biodiversity loss, fossil fuel subsidies or emissions reduction targets.

“The Green Economy” was the buzzword along with ” valueing what we can measure” as corporations salivate over future “opportunities”.


“The expansion of trade with China can be infinite,” said Brazil’s Finance Minister Guido Mantega, as he announced a new bilateral deal on the sidelines of the Rio+20 sustainability conference. “China is fast growing and wants to stimulate consumption so they will continue to buy our commodities. There are no limits.”


Politicians (who turned up) no doubt felt relieved at not having to make ‘spur of the moment’ decisions at Rio+20 and were quick to declare “progress”. What actually happened was inconceivably worse.


Alec Smith from “Radio Ecoshock” interviews Dr Arne Mooers, co-author of a report “Planetary Boundaries”, presented to leaders at Rio+20 introducing “State Shifts”, whereby new circumstances are occurring,  (through climate change) that are irreversable. Steven Leahy sends extracts from speeches from Rio+20 –                   Kate Rallworth from Oxfam talks of fundamental errors of current economic philosophy regarding “externalities”, and Johann Rockstrom (co-author with Arne Mooers) speaks of the anti-science and scepticism launched against “planetary boundaries” since the reports release.     


David Suzuki was at the Rio +20 conference with daughter Sevrin Cullis Suzuki as a babysitter for his grandsons. “Democracy Now” host Amy Goodman spoke with both Sevrin and David Suzuki.



The Great U Turn: Rio plus 20 – Vandana Shiva

It was a great U turn in terms of human responsibility to protect the life sustaining processes of the planet. Rio+20 will be remembered for what it failed to do in a period of severe and multiple crises, not for what it achieved.

It will be remembered for offering a bailout for a failing economic system through the “Green Economy”- a code phrase for the commodification and financialisation of nature. The social justice and ecology movements rejected the Green Economy outright. A financial system  which collapsed on Wall  Street in 2008, and had to be bailed out with trillions of tax payers dollars, and continues to be bailed out through austerity measures squeezing the lives of people, is now being proposed as the savior for the planet. Through the Green Economy an attempt is being made to technologise, financialise, privatize and commodify all of the Earth’s resources and living processes.

Our collective will and collective actions will determine whether corporations will be successful in privatising the last drop of water, the last blade of grass, the last acre of land, the last seed, or whether our movements will be able to defend life on Earth, including human life, in its rich diversity, abundance and freedom.

Fellow Canadian Cam Fenton, spokesperson for the Canadian Youth environmental lobby was again to the fore as he was at the Durban COP 17 summit.



Peter Bakker, the president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Business (WBCSD), believes that the corporate sector currently offers the best opportunity for saving the world. He rejects criticism that the 1,000 businesses that descended on Rio are not serious about creating change, pointing out that the 200 CEOs who attended the Business Action for Sustainable Development conference in Rio “don’t fly to bullshit around, but to have real discussions.”

A four point action plan has been developed by Bakker and he plans to spend the next few months getting it properly underway. The WBCSD will focus on sector and cross-sector coalitions, dialogue with government and encouraging more companies to join the progressive business camp.

George Monbiot penned this ;

After Rio, we know. Governments have given up on the planet.

It is, perhaps, the greatest failure of collective leadership since the first world war. The Earth’s living systems are collapsing, and the leaders of some of the most powerful nations – the United States, the UK, Germany, Russia – could not even be bothered to turn up and discuss it. Those who did attend the Earth summit in Rio last week solemnly agreed to keep stoking the destructive fires: sixteen times in their text they pledged to pursue “sustained growth”, the primary cause of the biosphere’s losses.

The efforts of governments are concentrated not on defending the living Earth from destruction, but on defending the machine that is destroying it.

The most talked about comment from Rio +20 was from British Deputy P,M. Nick Clegg, who described the conference as “INSIPID”



Dr Bill Rees, “Why we’re in denial”

Dr Bill Rees founder of “The Ecological Footprint” and co-developer with Matthis Wackernagel, spoke at the recent International Conference on Degrowth in Montreal. “The Extraenviromentalist” team of Seth & Justin did a great job of covering the conference.

It is very rare that someone is able to concisely and clearly spell out what the inhabitants of the Earth are facing, but someone as respected as Bill Rees who has studied many areas of life on earth is worth listening to.




The Problem – Rising Greenhouse Gas Emissions


The International Energy Association which advises world government on energy/fossil fuel production, last week noted THE INCREASE in 2011 of 1 Gt of carbon emissions over 2010 (which in itself was a “record”). The 450 ppm Scenario of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2011, which sets out an energy pathway consistent with a 50% chance of limiting the increase in the average global temperature to 2°C, requires CO2 emissions to peak at 32.6 Gt no later than 2017, i.e. just 1.0 Gt above 2011 levels.

“Under current policies, we estimate that energy use and (carbon dioxide) emissions would increase by a third by 2020, and almost double by 2050,” said IEA Deputy Executive Director Richard Jones.

“This would likely send global temperatures at least 6 degrees higher. Such an outcome would confront future generations with significant economic, environmental and energy security hardships,” he added.

In its recent report, The Critical Decade, the Australian government’s Climate Commission outlined a budgetary approach to avoid surpassing the danger limit.  The Commission estimated that humanity can emit not more than 1 trillion tonnes of CO2 between 2000 and 2050 to have a 75% probability of avoiding the danger limit.

The graph details emissions reductions cuts necessary as time progresses. The last time anyone had a 5% emissions reduction was when Russia collapsed. The only international agreement in sight is the Durban Platform which will not be enforcable before 2020.

Currently we are 22% of the way through the budgetary timeline, but we have emitted 328 Gt of fossil fuel CO2, burning through nearly 33% of the budget.  Thus we need to change our path soon from one of rising to decreasing annual emissions.

The IEA has its own 2°C scenario, in which emissions peak at 32.6 Gt no later than 2017.  Although emissions increased by 1.6 Gt in 2010 and 1.0 Gt in 2011, they can increase no more than 1.0 Gt (total, not annual increase) between 2011 and 2017 to meet the IEA scenario.

The Financial Problem

More neo conservative governments globally are decrying emissions reductions.   Canada has already pulled  (SPOIL 1) out of the Kyoto Protocol in an effort to be the No 1 oil exporter from tar sands.                                                                                       Australia’s Queensland Government ( SPOIL 2) “put coal before coral” when responding to a damning report from UNESCO on ALL levels of government in Australia handling development on the Great Barrier Reef. But Premier Campbell Newman has made it clear he will not stop  development in and around the  reef despite the UNESCO threat to classify  it as  a World Heritage site in danger.

”There are 35 major development applications seeking approval within the next  18 months that would impact on the reef. The scale and pace of proposed  development is out of control.”



This corporate mythology that growth of the existing economic system will guide the world to sustainability is dillusionary, as at least the I.E.A. have discovered.

Air pollution with Nitros Oxide levels off the charts in many parts of Europe are causing a return to levels last seen in the 1960’s, this in London.



WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN HOW THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY (City of London and Wall St) IS KICKING AND SCREAMING all the way to the legislature to STOP A FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS TAX which would raise hundreds of millions of dollars.

WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN HOW THE AVIATION & SHIPPING INDUSTRIES HAVE FAILED TO introduce regulations on international transport emissions.


THERE IS ENOUGH MONEY TO FIX THIS – IT IS TIME FOR  POLLUTER PAYS.     For far too long environmental damage has not been factored into the “costs of doing business”, The idiotic situation exists whereby disasters such as the Gulf of Mexico oil rig fire and release of 4 MILLION barrels of oil into the Gulf is seen as being part of GDP GROWTH !!!

Emissions from international travel, (people or freight) REMAIN OUTSIDE THE KYOTO PROTOCOL and are NOT ASSESSED for their respective MASSIVE CONTRIBUTION TO GLOBAL WARMING. Aircraft emissions are 4% of global total and set to TRIPLE by 2020. Shipping emissions account for up to 4% of global total as 90% of trade is carried out by sea with 90,000 vessels pouring sulphur dioxide and other noxious chemicals into the atmosphere along coastal shipping routes. This says nothing of the regular shipping and marine disasters, such as the Costa Concordia or the idiotic situation whereby disasters such as the Gulf of Mexico oil rig fire and release of 4 MILLION barrels of oil into the Gulf is seen as being part of GDP GROWTH !!!

As a comparison U.S.A. and China account for 23% of global emissions EACH and the remaining 50%+ is divided amongst the other 192 countries. I.E. U.K. contributes 1.4%, Australia 1.4% etc etc.

THE EUROPEAN UNION IS RIGHTLY TAXING AIRCRAFT EMISSIONS on travel INTO the European Union from 2012, despite legal challenges from the U.S.A. and China.

Europe’s highest court gave unreserved backing to a hotly contested EU law charging airlines for carbon emissions on flights to and from Europe, a decision likely to escalate tensions with the United States and other trading partners.

All airlines flying to and from EU airports will buy permits under the European Union’s emissions trading scheme from 1 January 2012, the European court of justice ruled.

Oxfam estimates $80-100 billion could be raised anually to fund environmental initiatives from taxing shipping emissions The European Union has lead the way by including aviation in it’s tax regime this year. New moves have just been announced by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to reduce sulpher content in bunker fuel emissions to less than 0.5% (from 3.5% in cargo shipping).

Sulpher being the most carcinogenic and responsible for up to 50,000 premature deaths along shipping routes globally.

Shipping industry must regulate to reduce climate change impact and damage to health and environment           LONDON (UK) July 18, 2005 —

Environmental groups said today that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is failing to protect the environment and human health from global shipping pollution.


SPOIL 3, The Mekong River.


…………………………… – brilliant site for info on Chinese/Mekong dam projects and Tibet.

As development drives China and Asia, it is their economies, and the search for energy to power that development that is keeping the world afloat. Canada and Australia, both energy “rich” countries have been the subject of the previous ‘Spoil’ articles, and both their destructive environmental “Spoil” programmes, can be directly attributed to the economic benefits of supplying the 2nd, (but soon to be 1st) biggest global economy. China.

The World Bank sponsored this film clip by the U.S. Geological Service, (ho hum), but it does point out some vital issues centred around not only the 12 dams proposed for the Mekong, but the 89 further hydroelectric plants planned for the Mekong’s tributory rivers which are approved by each country unilaterally.

China is not only causing havoc in remote parts of the world, it is also destroying much of it’s own back yard, and the Asian Region’s natural Heritage. It has already killed the Yangtse River through hydroelectric damn projects, and now despite 6 other nations being ‘downstream’ below the source of the Mekong in Tibet, China has 8 dams built, under construction or planned on the Mekong before it flows into Laos/Myanmar. It  has thirteen projects planned on the Salween (known in China as “Nu”) River above its entry into Myanmar, including several adjacent to or within the ecologically sensitive heritage site in Yunnan Province. These waterways, along with the Yangtze River (one of China’s domestic targets for intensive development), constitute the Three Parallel Rivers UNESCO World Heritage Site in southern China.

It is also reported that China has been given a major planning role on Thailands Mekong dam projects, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk said China had modern water-resource management laws and an efficient water system.

“Its water policy is comprehensive. All relevant agencies are well integrated too,” Preecha said.

Thai Water Resources Department director-general Jatuporn Buruspat said Thai officials would discuss how best to manage the Chao Phraya River with Jiao’s team. He said the Chinese officials would cruise along the Mekong River from Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district today to check the conditions of this international river. Jiao insisted that China’s dams did not have any adverse impact on the Mekong.

“When drought conditions got very serious in 2010, China released water for [use in] Thailand,” he said.

According to Thailand’s Water Crisis Prevention Centre, 48 provinces have been declared drought-hit this year.

Downstream riparian nations include Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. All of these countries will be affected by China’s dam building and hydropower operations in upstream reaches of the aforementioned rivers.



12 months ago when I crossed the Mekong River en route to Vien Tien a reprieve was in the air over the 12 massive damn projects proposed for the river. In December 2011 a moratorium was called by the Mekong River Commision (MRC) to allow a 10 year period of environmental research.

The search for reason has once again become a victim as news leaks out that a Thai construction company began work on March 15th on the  Xayaburi damn on the Mekong in Laos. The Peoples Republic of Laos has unilaterally made the decision despite the MRC moratorium and a “damning” report issued in March siting the damage to the worlds largest freshwater fishery from which 60 MILLION PEOPLE gain their livelyhood and from where 80% of the protein needs of those people come. Financing and construction are from Thai companies and banks, but the example followed, by one of the poorest, and least developed countries in Asia is the Chinese way, displacing millions of people in its bid to provide energy.  A demonstration was held in Bangkok recently
The 4,900 kilometer river which forms the borders between Laos/Myanmar and Laos/Thailand and flows on through Cambodia and and Viet Nam, is recognised at Angkor Wat as the provider of food  3,000 years ago.
It is the lifeblood of the millions of people of the region and has already been affected by China’s dam construction on the upper reaches of the Mekong with noticable falls in water levels on the lower reaches. Specifically, the dam will not only involve the resettlement of about 2,100 people; the means of subsistence, income and food security of 202,000 people living around Xayaburi dam will be affected due to the reduction of farmland and decimation of fisheries.As the downstream country, the impact on Cambodia will be even greater.  When the dam is constructed on the main stream of Mekong river, the food source of 80% of the population will be affected. The Tonle Sap lake area will face most serious problems due to the impact on its wild fish resources, which currently constitute the primary source of food and livelihoods for 1.6 million people and approximately 10% of current national GDP. The reduction of alluvium caused by the stagnancy of water in the dam’s reservoir will also negatively affect Cambodia food security.Thailand will likewise experience serious environmental impact on fisheries, alluvium and aquatic products, as well as social issues such as the destruction of subsistence-based livelihoods for people living along Mekong River and increased migration to urban areas, both internal and transboundary.Located in the lowest part of Mekong basin, Vietnam will suffer the most from the negative impacts of dam on main stream of Mekong river. The Xayaburi dam and other proposed main stream dams on the Lower Mekong would add significantly to the projected impact of China’s massive dams in Yunnan on the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, where 18 million people are living as well as to regional and even international food security.  Vietnam is the world’s second largest rice exporter and the Mekong Delta-already one of the areas most vulnerable to sea level rise–produces nearly half of its rice crop.

………………………….Full text on pictures at
Oxfam made this film to raise awareness.
There are 60 million peoples voices to be heard on this matter that are discounted on the assumption that this is progress – buying into the “prosperity” bubble as suickly as possible. There is no doubt that the mainly young populations of Asia want progress and energy needs are projected to increase 15% per yer for the next 10 years. Viet Nam has already accepted encrochments by dam flooding in nearly 80,000 hectares of lush lowland forest and expansive wetlands, rare animals like the duoc langur and the pigmy slow loris make a home, alongside 100 other endangered mammals.
But much of that could change if the government approves plans to build two hydropower dams on the Dong Nai River, which runs through the park.
For a lengthy but in depth discussion on the hazards and geopolitical movements of the Mekong development Stimpsons talk given by Dr Richard P Cronin in 2009, is still very relevant. No doubt slowed by the GFC, the need for electricity generation has picked up and now trade off’s are happening of which no-one can know the consequences.
Key information sites about Mekong River development include ;                                                                                                                                                                     

TAR SANDS, Avaaz petition, new documentaries.

As Tar Sands production steadily increases it is news of hunger strikes by Indigenous Americans of the Lakota Nation. and the emergence of the 3rd global supply line to the east, that reminds us that this activity must stop.  

Details have been released of a proposal to export tar sands oil from the east coast of America. Strong opposition met the proposed Keystone XL pipeline through the U.S. although a “section” of the pipeline has ominously been approved by Obama. The western route through the pristine Great Bear National Park on Canada’s west coast must be seen as the least possible option. The 3rd option is a doozy. Why build a pipeline when you have a leaky old one there already ? Opposition is beginning to mount within Canada and the U.S. as the pernicious nature of tar sands oil and its destructive planetary potential – emissions from Tar Sands oil are 20% greater than “conventional” oil emissions, due to the highly energy intensive processing of tar sands.









See previous Tar Sands posts

A “global” petition has been set up by AVAAZ to send to the Canadian government at

A new documentary “White Water, Black Gold”, is now being screened throughout Canada Here is a trailer.


Desmogblog has produced a film showing the silent damage to wildlife, including wolf culls and decreasing caribou numbers due to tar sands encroachment of habitat. It also highlughts the ridiculous “ethical oil” campaign, the film is called “Cry Wolf”.

Naomi Klein, Why the Right fears Climate Change.

Naomi Klein has been an outspoken activist, best selling author and filmaker for many years. This interview is cross posted from “Solutions” website and delves into Ms Klein’s investigative research into the wildly swinging opinion on climate change action, and the reality of finding a solution that is equitable globally, not just for the 1%.

Throwing Out the Free Market Playbook: An Interview with Naomi Klein

Perhaps one of the most well-known voices for the Left, Canadian Naomi Klein is an activist and author of several nonfiction works critical of consumerism and corporate activity, including the best sellers No Logo (2000) and Shock Doctrine (2007).

In your cover story for the Nation last year, you say that modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the political Left, including redistribution of wealth, higher and more progressive taxes, and greater government intervention and regulation. Please explain.

The piece came out of my interest and my shock at the fact that belief in climate change in the United States has plummeted. If you really drill into the polling data, what you see is that the drop in belief in climate change is really concentrated on the right of the political spectrum. It’s been an extraordinary and unusual shift in belief in a short time. In 2007, 71 percent of Americans believed in climate change and in 2009 only 51 percent believed—and now we’re at 41 percent. So I started researching the denial movement and going to conferences and reading the books, and what’s clear is that, on the right, climate change is seen as a threat to the Right’s worldview, and to the neoliberal economic worldview. It’s seen as a Marxist plot. They accuse climate scientists of being watermelons—green on the outside and red on the inside.

It seems exaggerated, but your piece was about how the Right is in fact correct.

I don’t think climate change necessitates a social revolution. This idea is coming from the right-wing think tanks and not scientific organizations. They’re ideological organizations. Their core reason for being is to defend what they call free-market ideology. They feel that any government intervention leads us to serfdom and brings about a socialist world, so that’s what they have to fight off: a socialist world. Increase the power of the private sector and decrease the public sphere is their ideology.

You can set up carbon markets, consumer markets, and just pretend, but if you want to get serious about climate change, really serious, in line with the science, and you want to meet targets like 80 percent emissions cuts by midcentury in the developed world, then you need to be intervening strongly in the economy, and you can’t do it all with carbon markets and offsetting. You have to really seriously regulate corporations and invest in the public sector. And we need to build public transport systems and light rail and affordable housing along transit lines to lower emissions. The market is not going to step up to this challenge. We must do more: rebuild levees and bridges and the public sphere, because we saw in Katrina what happens when weak infrastructure clashes with heavy weather—it’s catastrophe. These climate deniers aren’t crazy—their worldview is under threat. If you take climate change seriously, you do have to throw out the free-market playbook.

What is the political philosophy that underscores those who accept climate change versus those who deny it?

The Yale cultural cognition project has looked at cultural worldview and climate change, and what’s clear is that ideology is the main factor in whether we believe in climate change. If you have an egalitarian and communitarian worldview, and you tend toward a belief system of pooling resources and helping the less advantaged, then you believe in climate change. And the stronger your belief system tends toward a hierarchical or individual worldview, the greater the chances are that you deny climate change and the stronger your denial will be. The reason is clear: it’s because people protect their worldviews. We all do this. We develop intellectual antibodies. Climate change confirms what people on the left already believe. But the Left must take this confirmation responsibly. It means that if you are on the left of the spectrum, you need to guard against exaggeration and your own tendency to unquestioningly accept the data because it confirms your worldview.

Members of the Left have been resistant to acknowledging that this worldview is behind their support of climate action, while the Right confronts it head on. Why this hesitancy among liberals?

There are a few factors at work. Climate change is not a big issue for the Left. The big left issues in the United States are inequality, the banks, corporate malfeasance, unemployment, foreclosures. I don’t think climate change has ever been a broad-based issue for the Left. Part of this is the legacy of siloing off issues, which is part of the NGO era of activism. Climate change has been claimed by the big green groups and they’re to the left. But they’re also foundation funded. A lot of them have gone down the road of partnerships with corporations, which has made them less critical. The discourse around climate change has also become extremely technical and specialized. A lot of people don’t feel qualified and feel like they don’t have to talk about it. They’re so locked into a logic of market-based solutions—that the big green groups got behind cap and trade, carbon markets, and consumer responses instead of structural ones—so they’re not going to talk about how free trade has sent emissions soaring or about crumbling public infrastructure or the ideology that would rationalize major new investments in infrastructure. Others can fight those battles, they say. During good economic times, that may have seemed viable; but as soon as you have an economic crisis, the environment gets thrown under the bus, and there is a failure to make the connection between the economy and the climate crisis—both have roots in putting profits before people.

You write in your article, “After years of recycling, carbon offsetting, and light-bulb changing, it is obvious that individual action will never be an adequate response to the climate crisis.” How do we get the collective action necessary? Is the Occupy movement a step in the right direction?

The Occupy movement has been a game changer, and it has opened up space for us to put more radical solutions on the table. I think the political discourse in the United States is centered around what we tell ourselves the American public can handle. The experience of seeing these groups of young people put radical ideas on the table, and seeing the country get excited by it, has been a wake up call for a lot of people who feel they support those solutions—and for those who have said, “That’s all we can do.” It has challenged the sense of what is possible. I know a lot of environmentalists have been really excited by that. I’m on the board of, and they’ll be doing more and more work on the structural barriers to climate action. The issue is why? Why do we keep losing? Who is in our way? We’re talking about challenging corporate personhood and financing of elections—and this is huge for environmental groups to be moving out of their boxes. I think all of the green organizations who take corporate money are terrified about this. For them, Occupy Wall Street has been a game changer.

What comes after communism and capitalism? What’s your vision of the way forward?

It’s largely about changing the mix in a mixed economy. Maybe one day we’ll have a perfect “ism” that’s post-communism and -capitalism. But if we look at the countries that have done the most to seriously meet the climate challenge, they’re social democracies like Scandinavia and the Netherlands. They’re countries with a strong social sphere. They’re mixed economies. Markets are a big part, but not the only part, of their economies. Can we meet our climate targets in a system that requires exponential growth to continue? Furthermore, where is the imperative of growth coming from? What part of our economy is demanding growth year after year?

If you’re a locally based business, you don’t need continual growth year after year. What requires that growth is the particular brand of corporate capitalism—shareholders who aren’t involved in the business itself. That part of our economy has to shrink, and that’s terrifying people who are deeply invested in it. We have a mixed economy, but it’s one in which large corporations are controlled by outside investors, and we won’t change that mix until that influence is reduced.

Is that possible?

It is if we look at certain choke points like corporate personhood and financing, and it makes sense for us to zero in on aspects of our system that give corporations massive influence. Another is media concentration. If you had publicly financed elections, you’d have to require public networks to give airtime to candidates. So the fact that networks charge so much is why presidential elections cost more than a billion dollars, which means you have to go to the 1 percent to finance the elections. These issues are all linked with the idea that corporations have the same free-speech rights as people, so there would also be more restrictions on corporate speech.

Entrepreneur and writer Peter Barnes has argued that what’s missing is adequate incorporation of the “commons sector” in the economy—public goods like natural and social capital. “Capitalism 3.0” he calls it, which we’d achieve not by privatizing these goods but by creating new institutions such as public-asset trusts. What’s your opinion of this approach?

I definitely think it’s clear that the road we’ve been on—turning to the private sector to run our essential services—has proven disastrous. In many cases, the reason why it was so easy to make arguments in favor of privatization was because public institutions were so cut off and unresponsive and the public didn’t feel a sense of ownership. The idea that a private corporation has valued you as a customer was a persuasive argument. Now it turns out both models have failed. So this idea that there is a third way—neither private nor state-run public—is out there.

An Economist speaks out for the Environment.

*** UPDATE ,

An incredible article from physicist Tom Murphy  reports a conversation with an economist over dinner as they discuss “future energy” and it’s role in the “future economy”. Here is a link to the same article in Energy Bulletin

Ross Gittins, economics editor for Melbourne’s “The Age” newspaper has had something of a “Paulian” transformation over the last couple of years. In danger of being classified as “green” Gittins now runs the risk of a smackdown from Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person. Rinehart, who sponsors worthwhile and informative lectures such as Viscount Christopher Monckton’s visit to Australia, has just bought a big chunk of “The Age” and will no doubt be keen have a chat to Ross.

It is so rare to hear an economist including the savage environmental outcomes in store in their considerations of current growth policy – just had to post it.

More on Charles Moore, Plastic Oceans, 5 Gyres and Tsunami Debris.

It may have taken a while, but CBS has recently acknowledged the work of Capt Charles Moore and the book released last July ” Plastic Ocean” an interview can be seen at;cbsCarousel

His lecture at  Irving K. Barber Learning Centre discusses “The Greatest Infection of the Sea” detailed in his acclaimed book Plastic Ocean. Learn the shocking truth about the unintended consequences of the “Age of Plastics”, how we got here, & what we must do to stop adding to the millions of tons of plastic choking the world’s oceans. In 1997, Captain Charles Moore discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch– a whirlpool of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean. Since his discovery, Moore has been analyzing the giant litter patch and its disastrous effects on ocean life. Through the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, he hopes to raise awareness about the problem and find ways to restrict its growth. He’s now leading several expeditions to sample plastic fragments across thousands of miles of the Pacific.



Culture Change website has a report of another lecture in March just before the CBS interview ( and Moore’s research website is at

Captain Moore’s latest “expedition” in May 2012 is to track debris from the Tsunami (which covers an area the size of California) as it is carried by the north Pacific Ocean currents.



Are things getting better or are things getting worse?


THE EUROPEAN UNION HAS OPENED A EUROPE WIDE CONSULTATION PROCESS TO GET ENVIRONMENTAL FEEDBACK. It is a long, involved and thorough survey which will take at least half an hour to complete. If enough environmental responses are heard, it may drive E.U. policy which at present is leading the world. the survey is at ;

Background info ;

Environment Action Programmes have guided the development of EU environment policy since the early seventies. During this period, environment legislation was consolidated and completed to cover almost all environmental media, with the exception of soil. With the 6th EAP in its final year, the Commission continues to pursue an ambitious environment policy aimed at ensuring a high level of environmental protection and guided by the principles enshrined in the Treaty of precaution, prevention, rectifying pollution at source and ‘polluter pays’.

Against this background, the Commission is considering how a 7th Environment Action Programme could best provide added value in the rapidly evolving environment policy context.

The purpose of this consultation is to collect the views of all stakeholders, at EU and national level, and the public at large on the environment policy priorities up to 2020. Informed opinions are sought on the priority areas to be addressed and on the most effective tools for the EU to employ in addressing the challenges described in the consultation document.

LIMITS TO GROWTH, the case gets stronger.

At a recent Oxford University lecture cycle entitled “IS THE PLANET FULL?” –  some serious responses were put forward to further the work of Limits to Growth – the book written in 1972 by Denis Meadows et al, sponsored by the Club of Rome and Massachusetts Intitute of Technolgy. This film clip features Ian Johnson, for 26 years  the World Bank’s Vice President for Sustainable Development (ESSD), a contempory of Herman Daly, and now secretary general of the Club of Rome.



For some other very interesting talks including the “burning issue” of population go to the Oxford University’s website

PAUL GILDING – Aussie logic (and faith in human beings) on FACING FEAR.

Whilst governments the world over squirm in the face of CLIMATE REALITY and exhibit a common political aversion to action, Paul Gilding provides some realistic logic to the problems ahead, “this is just another problem, lets NOT wait until the lights go out to fix it.”

‘ONYA PAUL ! (Another example of the value of “TED Talks”)

Paul Gilding’s website (well worth a visit)  


Dr James Hansen @ TED Talks.

The head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies begins this talk with the question; “What do I know that you don’t, that would lead me to get arrested outside the White House?”. In this concise talk he explains in an understandable way his convictions, now we all know.

James Hansen, “Why I must speak out about Climate Change”:.




Earlier posts have referred to The Tar Sands Pipeline issue threatening pristine wilderness on Canada’s west coast. Here Garth Lenz gives an impassioned plea to recognise one of the wonders of the world already bearing the scars of fossil fuel madness.

The ‘Canadian Boreal Initiative” has a terrific website with more stunning photographs, maps and information from a report – “THE CARBON THE WORLD FORGOT”. 



Earlier posts on Tar Sands Pipeline issues, including the brilliant documentary “SPOIL”, on the CANADIAN GREAT BEAR FORESTS and WINONA LADUKE’s tireless campaign against TAR SANDS. 2 headed fish have been taken from the Athabasca River, cancer rates amongst idigenous villages have skyrocketed.

A recent study from the Australian Government clearly states that the PEAK of ALL OILS (including Tar Sands) will occur in 2016, after that demand will outstrip supply and a significant decline in availability will impact severly on the way society operates.

TOTAL TAR SANDS PRODUCTION of 250 BILLION barrells sounds a lot, but at current global demand of 83 MILLION BARRELLS A DAY,  the entire production of TAR SANDS will extend total peak another 5 or 6 years, (to 2016). Then we’re in decline, and as the report clearly states ;

Thus beyond 2017 we must begin to cope with the longer-term task of replacing oil as a source of energy.”

In the meantime what is lost is graphically shown in Garth Lenz’s TED TALK.

More discussion was raised through a recent BBC documentary, (the interviews are real, the storyline  acted) “IF THE OIL RUNS OUT”



Meanwhile with the help of The Post Carbon Institute an animated film explaining just HOW and WHY we are at this point has been released by Incubate Pictures. THERE’S NO TOMMOROW”




Perspectives on “Limits to Growth” – the 40th Anniversery.

“The Smithsonian Institute” hosted the 40th anniversery of the Club of Rome/M.I.T. groundbreaking report “Limits to Growth” on 1st March 2012. 2 of the 4 original authors Denis Meadows and Jorgen Renders have been living with L.t.G. since 1972. Bearing the criticisms, abuse and false accusations ever since. A thorough review was carried out in 2002 with updated computers and ALL results were confirmed.

Perhaps the most frightening was the confirmation of global collapse due to environmental/economic stressors on complex natural systems/biodiversity loss and natural resource depletion. As if anyone needed reminding, oil is the firsy “limit” to growth we are encountering, followed closely by phosphorus which will impact on food security globally.

Both Meadows and Renders now believe sustainable development is not achievable, Lester Brown is more optimistic but provides earth shattering statistics pointing to big problems with future food supply.

This is an all day seminar and Denis Meadows’ lecture begins 50 mins into the conference, Jorgen Renders begins at 1hr 33mins and a rivetting talk by Lester Brown founder of WorldWatch and The Earth Policy Institute begins a lecture at 2hrs 42 mins.




JOSE MARIA AZNAR is emerging (as Matt Taibbi describes Goldman Sachs) as the ;  “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money” 

AZNAR’s appointments to the Spanish judiciary have seen the end of Balthasar Garzon’s investigation into the Gurtel Case which had up to 70 investigations into high ranking officials of the Aznar/Rajoy conservative party. Santiago Menéndez, (who was head of the revenue collection in Aznar’s government), is the new ONIF director. THE NATIONAL OFFICE OF FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS. His first act was to sack was chief investigator Víctor de la Morena, who was in charge of many criminal probes, including the Gürtel case initiated by Garzon, and the ongoing case against royal son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin. With Garzon found guilty of charges emanating from the Gurtel Case and suspended from the judiciary for 11 years Aznar’s witch hunt of Garzon is complete. His strategic placement of stooges in government positions leaves the way open for Spanish corruption to be borne again with massive building projects under slave labour conditions.

As Barcelona heads into it’s 50th day without rain, it’s depressing news all round on the environmental front, new environment minister Miguel Arias Cañete (Minister of Agriculture and Fishing in the governments of José María Aznar)           ” believes environmental regulations and laws in 26 areas are needlessly restricting the development of the Spanish economy.”  

His prehistoric outlook on his portfolio include relaxation of the coastal laws which allowed development such as Benidorm (pic) to happen.  This bullshit is accompanied by Cañete’s IGNORANT statement that “Environmental sustainability cannot be understood today without taking into account the economic factor.”

SPAIN has fallen hopelessly behind the European Emissions Reduction target of 20% by 2020, and Spain is choosing flawed understanding of environmental sustainability to justify economic growth.



Daily fog which descends on Madrid 

YET ANOTHER AZNAR APPOINTEE IS HIS WIFE, ANA BOTELLA, who is now Mayor of Madrid and in the process of wasting tens of millions of euros in a bid to host the 2020 Olympics. Spain has been criticised recently by the E.U. for failing to reduce the NO2 (Nitrogen Oxide from deisel fumes i.e. carcinogenic) levels from THE 50% INCREASE above current Eurpoean air quality standards – and whereas the London Olympics are the Green Games, Spain’s, if succesful will be the “Dirty Games” – in more ways than one.

But Botella’s past environmental record has been a matter of public debate for years. The wife of former conservative prime minister José María Aznar had her first dispute with the environmentalists in early 2008, when she blamed “the African dust” for pollution in the city, apparently forgetting that 80 percent of the city’s pollution comes from NO2 from vehicle exhausts, not the Sahara desert. Environmentalists called her “ignorant” and she was even rebuked by the environment minister.

MEANWHILE YET ANOTHER AZNAR STOOGE, Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of Spain, blusters his way through the daily demonstrations by students and those protesting austerity cuts, in Valencia and Barcelona, – contrast this with the red carpet treatment given to speculators and shiesters of all kinds. Aznar’s contact from NEWS LIMITED no doubt encouraged the idea of “Europa Vegas”, the €17bn (£14.3bn) massive casino project planned by the US billionaire Sheldon Adelson It is being touted to be built in either Barcelona or Madrid.  “We believe we have the necessary package of agreements with the government which we need to provide assurance of success,” Local officials, though, are bending over backwards to accommodate Adelson, who is reportedly demanding tax breaks, gambling law changes, new labour laws and free land as he extends his empire from Las Vegas and Asia into Europe.

“We need the support of the government,” he said. “We can’t draw up a plan, give it to the building department and wait six months to get an answer.”

Madrid is in the lead. Its regional prime minister, Esperanza Aguirre, has met Adelson five times. “We should change whatever norms have to be changed,” she said recently. “We have to encourage this … though there are some demands that can be accepted and others that cannot.” (During José María Aznar’s first term in government, Ms. Aguirre was appointed Minister of Education and Culture )

Francisco Camps (recently found not guilty on corruption charges in the Gurtel case), shares a tender moment with Esperanza Aguirre. And so the circle is complete.


PAUL KINGSNORTH is a longstanding environmental activist who recently published an article ; “Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist” ; , in which he is critical of  current environmental activism as it has become centred around a beaurocratic    “SUSTAINABILITY INDUSTRY” which has a fixation on numbers of parts per million (ppm) rather than the ACTUAL biodiversity it is apparently trying to preserve. Paul Kingsnorth, Liarre Keith and David Abrams make a very interesting debate about the future of “environmentalism” and what part social justice, OCCUPY have had in progressing or inhibiting the battle for biodiversity.


PEAK OIL REALITY, FILMED DEBATE BETWEEN John Hofmeister (Shell) and Ted Patzek (University of Texas and ASPO-USA). The debate highlights that declining output from most oil-exporting nations over the past decade, in the face of rising global demand, is likely to create a lasting drop-off in global availability of oil-spelling serious consequences for all oil-importing nations, including the United States. This underscores the report below (AUSTRALIA SLEEPWALKING INTO PEAK OIL) the 2015 maximum supply availability, then it’s all downhill. Some amazing statistics incorporating the growth of China and India !




The ancient Great Bear Rainforest is one of the largest tracts of temperate rainforest left in the world (2 million hectares), and is home to thousands of species of plants, birds and animals. In this lush rainforest stand 1,000-year-old cedar trees and 90-metre tall Sitka spruce trees. Rich salmon streams weave through valley bottoms that provide food for magnificent creatures such as orcas (killer whales), eagles, wolves, black bears, grizzlies, and the rare and mysterious white Kermode (Spirit) bear.


..Location: The Great Bear Rainforest is located on the west coast of the British Columbia mainland, stretching from just north of Knight Inlet (off north central Vancouver Island) to Princess Royal Island and all the way north to the Alaskan border.


The wonders and beauty of the Great Bear Rainforest are detailed in the post “SPOIL” below – the story of the White Spirit Bear.



WINONA LADUKE has been a big part in raising awareness amongst First Nation groups and the 1 agreement than Enbridge had with an Indian Nation has now disintegrated. ALL FIRST NATIONS NOW OPPOSE THE PIPELINE TO KITIMAT,

Radio Ecoshock’s Alex Smith went to Vancouver to record a public Tar Sands meeting called “Oil Free Coast, Tankers and Pipelines”, a really engaging discussion with information from Coastal First Nations and lone political voice Nathan Cullen. One point it mentions is the danger from increased shipping with heavy oil tankers. It should be noted that shipping emissions produce a large portion of Sulphur Dioxide particles which are extremely poisonous. Shipping contributes almost 5% to global emissions with sulphur dioxide being contributing to the 60,000 deaths attributed to shipping emissions along coastal routes. (More on shipping on this blog soon)

Radio Ecoshock’s webpage on the talk is here There is also a very interesting update on Occupy San Francisco in the second half of the programme.



A young 10 year old girl, Ta ‘Kaiya has written and recorded a song to mark the protest against the pipeline.



This is a good visual summary of the destructiveness of Canadian Tar Sands



And Naomi Klein shares a thought bubble



The Canadian Government are open CLIMATE CRIMINALS basing ALL assessment of the Tar Sands on purely economic criteria, they abandoned the Kyoto Protoco; because of it, and are now prepared to abandon the hopes of environmentalists all over the globe to export their sad prize to China.

Sign up to a group fighting Tar Sands Here ;

350.0rg – Bill Mckibben and Naomi Klein joined for a brilliant campaign v Keystone XL

PACIFIC WILD – who have an extensive range of articles and film on Great Bear

OIL SANDS TRUTH – a Canadian website with up to the minute news


Beautiful article in National Geographic



“After that, the modelling is forecasting what can be termed ‘the 2017 drop-off’. The outlook under a base case scenario is for a long decline in oil production to begin in 2017, which will stretch to the end of the century and beyond.

Thus beyond 2017 we must begin to cope with the longer-term task of replacing oil as a source of energy.”


Those readers of the “Oil Drum” or “Energy Bulletin may be up with this report from 2009 commissioned by the Federal Australian Govt, and how it has remained locked away from public discussion since then, displaying the complete absence of any seriousness in preparation for the future.


 Whilst officials have been aware of the spin over the future of energy supplies, only 1 municipal Council in Melbourne (Maribyrnong) has taken ANY measures to assess what impact PEAK OIL will have. It has been mentioned in Jago Dobson’s groundbreaking research from Griffith University looking at the double impacts to Australia’s car driving society. Rising oil prices and economic hardship are projected to have devastating effects on Australia’s “middle class”. Mortgage payments on expensive housing now leave very little discretionary cash.

The Report clearly agrees with the I.E.A. projection that the “PEAK” of  “easy extraction”, conventional oil, that society has based it’s growth upon, happened in 2006. From that point, current oil supplies have been bouyed by Tar Sands oil and deepwater drilling. These VERY DANGEROUS and expensive extraction methods are temporary NEW sources that are expected to maintain EXISTING demand ONLY UNTIL 2016.



From then on global supply deteriorates until the end of the century AND NEVER REGAINS THE SUPPLY LEVEL WE HAVE NOW.    2015 – BIG YEAR …………….. PEAK EMISSIONS AND PEAK OIL. Funny how similar the graphs look !!!


…………………        This is a graph from Prof Kevin Anderson of the Tyndal Institute who provided the Audio presentation at “2015 – PEAK EMISSIONS, or the planet gets it” detailing the emissions reduction needed to PEAK in 2015.

Australian Energy Minister Martin Ferguson is currently Chair of the IEA Ministerial Committee ;


“New technology, such as floating LNG, will unlock huge resources and boost this major industry. We’re on track to be the second largest exporter of LNG in the next few years.” Ferguson states.

His last BIG IDEA was to bring OPRAH WINFREY AND THE WHOLE SHOW out to Australia to record a couple of programmes. At the cost of millions of tax payer $$’s FERGUSON RECKONS “You can’t buy that sort of publicity”.

It’s really great to know such an “international player” is across so many issues like what’s good for Australia. He maintains his position as an ABSOLUTE DUD with his “planet saving” COAL AND GAS EXPORT DEALS AND REFUSAL TO RECOGNISE THE CLIMATE REALITY.

NO SURPRISE that his new “MATE” FATIH BIRROL and the I.E.A. is projecting a 40% increase in the “gas future”, AND BIG MARTI’s gunner do the Ozzies proud. His “great white hope” of a GAS/GEOSEQUESTRATION answer to a LOW CARBON future is a MYTH.

It is his policy decision making that is RUINING THE GREAT BARRIER REEF with gas and coal export terminals in WORLD HERITAGE LISTED AREAS, this ensures global emissions reduction targets CANNOT BE MET.

With people such as FERGUSON in the “power faction” within the Labour Party THERE CAN BE NO EFFECTIVE CONTRIBUTION TO PREVENTING CLIMATE CHANGE. He remains the man who refused to release the report on the Timor Sea Oil Spill and fire and stuck up for vested FOSSIL FUEL interests..

The Dept of Transport (which commissioned the report), under Anthony Albanese, has still not published it on the Dept’s website, and since the report was finished, HE AND THE TRANSPORT DEPT haVE been busy approving freeway projects all over Australia – DID THEY THINK WE WOULDN’T NOTICE WHEN THE PRICE OF PETROL GOT TO $3 per litre ?




The search for new energy supply is taking a MASSIVE toll on previously sacred environmental sites as detailed with TAR SANDS, Here is another prime example which exposes the 2 faced government of Australia. On the one hand introducing a Carbon Tax (with a beggarly 5% emissions reduction target to 2020) and on the other digging up and selling as much coal, gas and uranium as it can. This duplicitous strategy can only fool some people for some of the time. Eventually it is brain dead policies such as these that will finish the planet.

This 4 Corners programme perfectly exposes the sugar coated arsenic pill the Australian Government offers as its contribution to climate change. Consciously ignoring the World Heritage Council (under which the Great Barrier Reef is listed) the Gillard Government was only too happy to sign contracts for the development of the gas refineries as the Great Barrier Reef follows the road to destruction. This time its coal seam gas and new coal export terminals that are the issue, and a 10 fold increase in shipping through the Great Barrier Reef. As the Reef faces widespread bleaching from ocean acidification we have to ask what is going to be left for the future.



“SPOIL” – Tar Sands Nightmare.


AS OBAMA “PONDERS” THE pros and cons in an election year of approving the Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico, the “Plan B” may be just too terrible to think about. Pacific Wild ( , have produced this amazing film of the area under threat.







Despite ‘assurances’ that the shipping lanes are “safe” to navigate “A FLOATING CITY, WITH 4,000 people on board ran aground off the coast of Tuscany. The captain, (since arrested), denied allegations that he was sailing too close to the coast.




“We were 300 metres from the rocks and that outcrop should not have been there,” he said.








Some important facts to remember when thinking of the TAR SANDS development.





……………………     (Excellent articles on Climate Change evidence)





Vast reserves of low quality oil underlie the boreal forest surrounding Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, Canada in the form of “Athabasca oil sands.” While these reserves have been known since the early 20th century the high cost of extracting usable oil from these “oil sands” limited the development of a viable oil sands mining industry. 
In 2003 the rising cost of crude oil led the Oil and Gas Journal to formally recognize Canada’s oil sands as a viable resource (Woynillowicz et al., 2005).  The oil held in these reserves raises Canada to second place on the list of oil rich countries, behind only Saudi Arabia in total reserves (Oil and Gas Journal, 2004).   The rising price of oil has fueled this oil boom in Northern Alberta.  Canada’s National Energy Board predicts $125 billion in investments for creation and expansion of oil sands mining in the Athabasca area between 2006 and 2015 which will take production to around 3 million barrels per day (National Energy Board, 2006). 
Local people including the Native American population are concerned that exploitation will come at too great a cost to the environment.  The government of Alberta plans to propose a surface mining area of 280,000 hectares, “an area approximately four times the size of the City of Calgary” (Mineable Oil Sands Strategy-Government of Alberta, 2005). 
In 2001 oil extracted from oil sands (271 million barrels) exceeded oil extracted by conventional means (264 million barrels) for the first time (Canadian Centre for Energy Information, 2002-2003).   In 1967 The Great Canadian Oil Sands Company began construction at its Mildred Lake site.  In 1974 they were joined by the Syncrude Corporation which began construction of a mine in the same area.  By early 2006 the mining operations had expanded to cover an area roughly 30 km by 20 km.  Syncrude operates a second mine, the Aurora, approximately 30 km to the north of Mildred Lake.
WINONA LADUKE – As Winona displayed during her debate with Stewart Brand (below), her passion and commitment to idiginous activism brings a wisdom which the broader activist community need to embrace. The “long haul” activist explains the impacts  Tar Sands is having on the native community .
BILL McKIBBEN and ran a brilliant campaign against the KEYSTONE XL pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, to postpone a decision by Obama, but Republican “oil puppets” are forcing a decision before the 2012 election. A few days ago he wrote this in the Guardian ;
 “We waged our struggle against building it out in the open, presenting scientific argument, holding demonstrations, and attending hearings. We sent 1,253 people to jail in the largest civil disobedience action in a generation. Meanwhile, more than half a million Americans offered public comments against the pipeline, the most on any energy project in the nation’s history.
And what do you know? We won a small victory in November, when President Obama agreed that, before he could give the project a thumbs-up or -down, it needed another year of careful review.
Given that James Hansen, the government’s premier climate scientist, had said that tapping Canada’s tar sands for that pipeline would, in the end, essentially mean “game over for the climate”, that seemed an eminently reasonable course to follow, even if it was also eminently political.

A few weeks later, however, Congress decided it wanted to take up the question. In the process, the issue went from out in the open to behind closed doors in money-filled rooms. Within days, and after only a couple of hours of hearings that barely mentioned the key scientific questions or the dangers involved, the House of Representatives voted 234-194 to force a quicker review of the pipeline. Later, the House attached its demand to the must-pass payroll tax cut.”

So Tar Sands is back in the forefront of issues, join your support to HERE.

2015 – PEAK EMISSIONS — Here’s why.

Nice time scale film tracks “from where” and “how much” carbon emissions have entered the atmosphere. Good graphic portrayal.



This is a brilliant real time graph of emissions generation from 1979 to present day in terms of carbon parts per million. It charts the increase from 1979 to present day in time scale on the left then shows the rising graph on the right. When the chart reaches 2011 it then scales back showing todays relative position to the last 800,000 years.




Envisat ASAR satellite radar image showing large slick (outlined in yellow) from major oil spill  off Niger Delta.  Image courtesy European Space Agency.


Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian drilling operations in the highly productive Bonga Field were officially brought to a halt yesterday after “less than 40,000 barrels of oil” (1.7 million gallons) were reportedly leaked during a transfer of crude to a tanker. We’ve just processed a radar satellite image taken this morning (December 21, 2011) of the field, with the spill clearly visible.  Here it is showing the slick outlined in yellow; it is about 70 km (45 miles) long, 17 km (10 miles) wide at it’s widest, and covers 923 square kilometers (356 square miles) of ocean:




JUST LIKE IT HAPPENED HERE——– AT CAMPOS off the coast of Brazil.


The most recent image we were able to get that wasn’t cloud-covered is from November 12, 2011.  It shows an apparent oil slick originating from the drilling location   and extending over 2,379 square kilometers (the south end of the slick   gets entrained in an interesting clockwise eddy in the ocean currents).    At 1 micron thickness, that’s a volume of 628,000 gallons (14,954   barrels) of oil






Map of the length of time oil was in the Gulf. The lightest orange indicates 1-3 weeks coverage; the darkest is 16-18 weeks. Image: European Space Agency


DURBAN COP 17, success or failure ?

 The recent U.N.F.C.C.C. climate change conference in Durban was largely greeted with howls of derision by the majority of NGO’s and the environment movement. “Just another talk fest with no reductions in targets” was the common response. “Another wated decade”, a “win for the polluters.”

An analysis by Andrew Light, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Director of the Center for Global Ethics at George Mason University.  goes beyond this rhetoric and provides a more in depth view of COP 17.

He gives ” Six Reasons Why the Durban Decision Matters ” and delves into the U.N.F.C.C.C. process as a necessary part of understanding why the Durban outcome and process has significance.


I’m going to assume that anyone reading this post is driven as I am everyday by alarm at the growing climate crisis and the apparent lack of progress in responding to it.  We all articulate this existential worry in various ways, but I feel that at bottom our alarm is commonly driven by a deep moral concern about what is and is not being done with respect to the welfare of current and future generations and the planet we inhabit, along with moral outrage at the roadblocks that are intentionally thrown up against our efforts.

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Naomi Klein on Occupy and Climate Change.


In this interview with Occupy Vancouver, Naomi Klein gives an appraisal of the Occupy movement and it’s value in redetermining values, communicating and ethics. She offers the opinion that solutions to the economic crisis are the same solutions that are needed for the ecological crisis of climate change, and the political crisis which is advocated by the Tar Sands.



Naomi Klein’s advocacy is gaining important discussion space as the following post from New York Times columnist Andrew Revkin shows. The discussion centres around her article “Capitalism v Climate” (see below) and her call for a realistic approach to climate change and the massive change that must occur to return to a safe climate.

Andrew Rivkin and the New York Times have acknowledging global warming but staying very close to the “American Way.”

Revkin, although disagreeing with some key aspects of Naomi Kleins essay, welcomes the discussion ;

She challenges the environmental left to embrace this reality instead of implying that modest changes in lifestyle and shopping habits and the like can decarbonize human endeavors on a crowding planet.

Andrew Rivkin. (AR)

First, I was happy to see you dive into the belly of the many-headed beast challenging the need for greenhouse-gas cuts (as was clear from your piece, you recognize that there’s no single species called “deniers”). There are lots of slings and arrows awaiting anyone exploring this terrain, as was the case with the Heartland meeting in 2008. What prompted you to do an in-depth look at global warming stances and the issues underlying this “crisis”?

Naomi Klein (NK)

I got interested after attending the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009. Like a lot of people who watched that train wreck up close, I came away wanting to understand the massive gap between the euphoric expectations of the environmental movement and the real political outcomes. When I got home, I was stunned by a new Harris poll that showed that the percentage of Americans who believed in anthropogenic climate change had plummeted from 71 per cent to 51 per cent in just two years. So here we were thinking that the world was on the verge of some kind of climate breakthrough while a large segment of the U.S. population was rejecting the science altogether. I wanted to understand how that could have happened.

I had a bit of an “a-ha” moment reading a paper by the excellent Australian political scientist Clive Hamilton, in which he argues that a great many American conservatives have come to see climate science as a threat to their core ideological identity. Then I read Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, which explains that many of the key scientists behind the denier movement hold a similar point of view – they are old-school Cold Warriors who came to see fighting environmentalism as a battle to protect “freedom” and the American way of life.

But as I read all this, I found myself thinking that from within the hard-right worldview, these responses were entirely rational. If you really do believe that freedom means governments getting out of the way of corporations and that any regulation leads us down Hayek’s road to serfdom, then climate science is going to be kryptonite to you. After all, the reality that humans are causing the climate to warm, with potentially catastrophic results, really does demand radical government intervention in the market, as well as collective action on an unprecedented scale. So you can understand why many conservatives see climate change as a threat to their identity. Too often the liberal climate movement runs away from the deep political and economic implications of climate science, which is why I wrote the piece. I think we need to admit that climate change really does demand a profound interrogation of the ideology that currently governs our economy. And that’s not bad news, since our current economic model is failing millions of people on multiple fronts.

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2015 – PEAK EMISSIONS, or the planet gets it ……

MORE SCIENCE – PROFESSOR KEVIN ANDERSON GAVE THIS HOUR LONG PRESENTATION IN MAY 2010. It is a discussion on the need to be clear what limiting global average temperature increase to 2 degrees above pre industrial levels MEANS.

Anderson explains the intricacy of “sharing” the remaining CARBON BUDGET between now and 2050 and harks back to the Stern Report which set 2015 as the date when carbon emissions must peak.


Below is a link to the slideshow.




Dr James Hansen.

Jim Hansen has been researching climate science through Paleontology (ice core samples) since 1988. He heads NASA and is regarded as the leading climate scientist in the world. Not only has he authored many scientific papers and books, he has also taking off his white coat for the principals he advocates, and being arrested – most recently at the anti TAR SANDS Washington rally.

This panel discussion with associates explores climate “sensitivity”, or “at what speed the climate reacts to FORCINGS”. The “FORCINGS” in discussion are the 800 metric tonnes of CO2 -e PER SECOND that “civilization” pumps into the atmosphere.          70,000,000 ( seventy million ) tonnes  a day.                                              25,500,000,000 (25 billion metric tonnes per year)

An “unprecedented” amount of the same stuff that has caused ALL OTHER “NATURAL” ice ages and “interglacial” periods where sea levels are up to 100 metres HIGHER.

Dr Hansen REITERATES that a “safe climate” MUST be regarded as one with CO2 content of 350ppm. To reduce emissions to achieve that target, beginning in 2015, requires a reduction in emissions of 5% per annum. If it is left UNTIL 2020 (AS SOME SIGNATORIES TO THE “DURBAN PLATFORM” (i.e. USA) SUGGEST, the reduction in emissions to achieve 350ppm is 15% p.a. This requires the decarbonisation of the power generation sector – when France introduced nuclear power in the 70’s-80’s, their reduction in emissions was 4% per annum.




Participants: James Hansen Director, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York, USA;

Ken Caldeira Senior Scientist, Department of Global Ecology Carnegie Institute of Washington, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA;

Eelco Rohling Professor of Ocean and Climate Change, Southampton University, Southampton, United Kingdom.

“The Hero’s” – MICHAEL MANN

The last post “outed” one of the villains of the COP 17 “peace”, Republican Senator Jim Inhofe. Now here is a hero, who has been the subject of Inhofe’s “witch hunts” for the last 8 years or so.


Michael E. Mann (born December 28, 1965) is an American physicist and climatologist, currently director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. He is best known as lead author of a number of articles on paleoclimatology and as one of the originators of a graph of temperature trends over the last thousand years, called the “hockey stick graph” because of its shape. The graph was highlighted in an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, receiving both praise and criticism, and has been the subject of a long-running controversy. Mann is also known as a founding member of the RealClimate blog, to which he and a number of other scientists contribute, and is the co-author with Lee R. Kump of Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming (2008).

In November 2009, hackers obtained emails from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia that had been exchanged by Mann and other climatologists and posted them online, triggering the Climatic Research Unit email controversy, dubbed “Climategate” by the media. Two reviews commissioned by Pennsylvania State University cleared Mann of allegations of ethical misconduct arising out of the content of the emails.

Here is a Ted Talk from Michael Mann where he calmly takes us through the trials of a scientist, 100% vindicated by the Berkley Report, part funded by the fossil fuel lobby (Koch Bros). This demonstrates the still VERY REAL problems in U.S. politics.



Michael Mann gives a personal account of the “inquisitions” that scientific research has exposed him to through the “denial industry” and their paid political henchmen. Mann’s papers have been unanimously endorsed, including the “hockey stick graph”.

DURBAN OUTCOME, U.N.F.C.C.C. link, news blog & more.



Alden Meyer from Union of Concerned Scientists commented;

Environmentalists criticized the package — as did many developing countries in the debate — for failing to address what they called the most urgent issue, to move faster and deeper in cutting carbon emissions.

“The good news is we avoided a train wreck,” said Alden Meyer, recalling predictions a few days ago of a likely failure. “The bad news is that we did very little here to affect the emissions curve.”

………………………………… blog ;

After a long debate, South Africa’s Maite Nkoana-Mashabane sought to broker a spontaneous compromise that has been years in the making by forcing negotiators to work out their differences on the floor of the plenary, in plain view and earshot of media and anyone else willing to push their way into a crowd (or onto a chair). All of this took place at 3 a.m. Sunday morning, making Durban the longest of 17 annual conferences convened by signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Be the cause clever politicking, schoolyard peer pressure or sheer fatigue, it worked. After some 45 minutes of shifting scrums punctuated by occasional applause, India, the European Union, the United States and other key players worked out their differences on a host of interrelated issues. This time it came down to five words: “agreed outcome with legal force”. To recap, the final language states that countries will begin new negotiations on “a protocol, another legal instrument, or an agreed outcome with legal force,” which apparently falls somewhere in the legal spectrum between a binding treaty and a nonbinding decision. Both India and the EU promptly dropped their objections.

The so-called “Durban package” was adopted shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday. It extends the Kyoto Protocol and commits the world to negotiating a new agreement by 2015 that covers all countries, developed and developing. Among other things, it also advances some details of the new Green Climate Fund established last year in Cancun as well as language intended to promote efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation. Despite universal acknowledgements that the deal does nothing to reduce emissions or increase funding beyond existing commitments, environmentalists and scientists generally endorsed the decision as a significant step that could put all major emitters onto the same playing field in the years to come


“Responding to Climate Change”,  reported ;

Speaking to RTCC in the Plenary Hall, the UK’s lead climate diplomat John Ashton said the talks had been a success, adding the roadmap and accompanying measures “represented closure” after Copenhagen.

Chris Huhne, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, warned there was still work to do but was enthusiatic about the deal. “There are still many details to be hammered out, but we now need to start negotiating the new legal agreement as soon as possible and there are still many details to be hammered out,” he said.

Adrian Macey, Chair of AWG-KP, the track of the talks dealing with Kyoto said: “We’ve got a package with clarity on the Kyoto Protocol, and importantly we also have clarity on the long term too, and it’s quite momentus I think looking at this longer term agreement. Better than people expected.”

Norway’s Climate Change Minister Erik Solheim told RTCC they were “very, very pleased, it’s in the upper range of what we hoped for. We’re pleased both with the substantive outcome and also the agreement on this process.

“For us this is a great outcome. The key aspect is that it is crucial, when you have a Kyoto Protocol with limited scope…[it’s] crucial we get a legally binding framework for all major emitters and that’s the core here. It’s also important the deadline for the negotiation process is not too far into the future. So it’s the ambition level and also the urgency. We have somethig to take climate action forward and we now have an ambitious pathway to go forward,” said Solheim.

…………………………………. have a good synopsis ;

U.N. climate change talks in Durban, South Africa, agreed a package of measures early on Sunday that would eventually force all the world’s polluters to take legally binding action to slow the pace of global warming.

After more than two weeks of intense talks, some 190 countries agreed to four main elements — a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, the design of a Green Climate Fund and a mandate to get all countries in 2015 to sign a deal that would force them to cut emissions no later than 2020, as well as a workplan for next year.


New U.N. climate deal struck, critics say gains modest

After a 36 hour extension to COP 17 in Durban there is a new agreement which must be finalised by 2015 to begin in 2020. The Kyoto Protocol will be extended until at least 2017.  These are the Sunday morning press that declare the agreement to the World.

N.B. – It should be noted that emissions reduction tergets have not been addressed to ensure that global warming is reduced to less than 2 degrees as agreed at Copenhagen and Cancun. HOWEVER,  a new I.P.C.C. report is due in 2014 which will update the science and the existing 2007 Data Set from I.P.C.C.

2012 NEEDS TO BE A BIG YEAR FOR THE PLANET – AS WELL AS THE COP 18 CONFERENCE AT QATAR, THERE IS THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF “THE RIO EARTH SUMMIT”,  –  the U.N. conference which began all these discussions in 1992.


 The 194-party conference agreed to start negotiations on a new accord that would ensure that countries will be legally bound to carry out any pledges they make. It would take effect by 2020 at the latest.

The package of accords extended the Kyoto Protocol, the only global pact that enforces carbon cuts, agreed the format of a fund to help poor countries tackle climate change and mapped out a path to a legally binding agreement on emissions reductions.

But many small island states and developing nations at risk of being swamped by rising sea levels and extreme weather said the deal marked the lowest common denominator possible and lacked the ambition needed to ensure their survival.

“We came here with plan A, and we have concluded this meeting with plan A to save one planet for the future of our children and our grandchildren to come,” said South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who chaired the talks.

“We have made history,” she said, bringing the hammer down on Durban conference, the longest in two decades of U.N. climate negotiations.

Britain’s Energy and Climate Secretary Chris Huhne said the result was “a great success for European diplomacy.”

“We’ve managed to bring the major emitters like the U.S., India and China into a roadmap which will secure an overarching global deal,” he said.

U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said Washington was satisfied with the outcome: “We got the kind of symmetry that we had been focused on since the beginning of the Obama administration. This had all the elements that we were looking for.”

“It’s certainly not the deal the planet needs — such a deal would have delivered much greater ambition on both emissions reductions and finance,” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Producing a new treaty by 2015 that is both ambitious and fair will take a mix tough bargaining and a more collaborative spirit than we saw in the Durban conference centre these past two weeks.”


Amy Goodman is at the Durban COP 17 for Democracy Now ! and looks at  perceptions of America and highlights the brave young lady who stood up to say that the U.S. delegate did not represent the people. Great applause met her remarks as she was ejected from the hall, nevertheless, the point was made.




I’VE NEVER HEARD OF PATRICK BOND BEFORE, he is involved with Occupy Durban ROOTS, but he is professor ay Kwa Zulu Natal and South African govt advisor, social activist and OCCUPY participant. Early Saturday morning Patrick gave his impressions of the conference.

Bond points to the positive victories on TAR SANDS thro’ mass opposition, and is critical of the vested interests that have prevented a legally binding agreement. Bond’s optimism uses the “wins” that are being made, Occupy, and the connectivity of the global climate/social justice network as a basis for the future.

Just one of the many individuals involved that give hope for the future.