Tag: Al Gore

Interconnections Three

Is there a case for optimism? You bet there is!

To be honest, at a personal level I just don’t know the answer to that question. It seems to depend on the mood that Jean and I are in at any particular time. All I can fall back on is that well-used saying from me: “Never underestimate the power of unintended consequences”.

In other words, we shouldn’t underestimate the strength of millions of good people when their demands start reaching out to those in power. (And whatever your reaction to this post, please don’t miss watching the inspirational Al Gore speech towards the end of this post.)

Recently over on the Grist site there was an article about the critical changes that each and every one of us should be making. I want to share it with you in full.

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Want to fight climate change? Here are the 7 critical life changes you should make

Food and health

How less can be so much more.

I came at today’s post from a number of directions.

A few days ago I was catching up with a good friend back in the UK, Peter M.  We hadn’t spoken in a couple of months.  One of the items from my end was mentioning that I had converted to a vegetarian diet, verging on trying to be a vegan.  Jeannie has been a vegetarian for almost her entire life. Having made the change to a vegetarian diet, to my surprise I had gained 12 lbs (5.4 kgs) in the last month.  Peter then mentioned that he, too, had put on 8 kgs before deciding to try and cut back.  Peter and I are of the same age and motivated to stay as fit and healthy as we can.  Anyway, Peter’s route for losing some weight was to commit to the fasting arrangement promoted and recommended by Dr. Michael Mosley – more of this later.

The conversation also reminded me of an essay by George Monbiot back at the end of November: Wrong About Being Wrong. Mr. Monbiot wrote of his mind changes about being vegetarian.  With his permission, here is that essay.

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Wrong About Being Wrong

November 27, 2013

The argument seems, once more, decisively to favour veganism.

By George Monbiot, published on the Guardian’s website 27th November 2013

He did it quietly, and the decision is the better for that: Al Gore, according to reports in the US press, has gone vegan.

Certain things could be said about other aspects of his lifestyle: his enormous houses and occasional use of private jets, for example. While we can’t demand that everyone who espouses green causes should live like a Jain monk, I think we can ask that they don’t live like Al Gore. He’s a brilliant campaigner, but I find the disjunction between the restraint he advocates and the size of his ecological footprint disorienting.

So saying, if he is managing to sustain his vegan diet, in this respect he puts most of us to shame. I tried it for 18 months and almost faded away. I lost two stone, went as white as a washbasin and could scarcely concentrate. I think I managed the diet badly; some people appear to thrive on it. Once, after I had been unnecessarily rude about vegans and their state of health (prompted no doubt by my own failure), I was invited to test my views in an unconventional debate with a vegan cage fighter. It was a kind invitation, but unfortunately I had a subsequent engagement.

In 2010, after reading a fascinating book by Simon Fairlie, a fair part of which was devoted to attacking my views, I wrote a column in which I maintained that I’d been wrong to claim that veganism is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue. Diverting grain that could have fed human beings to livestock, I’d argued, is grotesque when 800 million go hungry.

Fairlie does not dispute this, and provides many examples of the madness of the current livestock production system. But he points out that plenty of meat can be produced from feed which humans cannot eat, by sustaining pigs on waste and grazing cattle and sheep where crops can’t grow. I was swayed by his argument. But now I find myself becoming unswayed. In the spirit of unceasing self-flagellation I think I might have been wrong about being wrong.

Part of the problem is that while livestock could be fed on waste and rangelands, ever less of the meat we eat in the rich nations is produced this way. Over the past week, a row has erupted between chefs and pig farmers over the issue of swill. The chefs point out – as Simon Fairlie does – that it is ridiculous to feed pigs on soya grown at vast environmental cost in the Amazon instead of allowing them to dispose of our mountain of waste food. Feeding pigs on swill has been forbidden since the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001.

The farmers respond that the risks of spreading disease are too great and that pigs fed on waste grow more slowly than pigs fed on soya. I side with the chefs: I believe that a society capable of identifying the Higgs boson should be able to sterilise waste food. But I suspect that they’re not going to win: the industry and its regulators are firmly against them.

I should have seen it coming, but I watched in horror as the meat industry used my article to justify the consumption of all meat, however it was produced, rather than just the meat raised on food that humans can’t eat. A potential for good is used to justify harm.

While researching my book Feral, I also came to see extensive livestock rearing as a lot less benign than I – or Simon Fairlie – had assumed. The damage done to biodiversity, to water catchments and carbon stores by sheep and cattle grazing in places unsuitable for arable farming (which means, by and large, the hills) is out of all proportion to the amount of meat produced. Wasteful and destructive as feeding grain to livestock is, ranching appears to be even worse.

The belief that there is no conflict between this farming and arable production also seems to be unfounded: by preventing the growth of trees and other deep vegetation in the hills and by compacting the soil, grazing animals cause a cycle of flash floods and drought, sporadically drowning good land downstream and reducing the supply of irrigation water.

So can I follow Al Gore, and do it better than I did before? Well I intend at least to keep cutting my consumption of animal products, and to see how far I can go. It’s not easy, especially for a person as greedy and impetuous as I am, but there has to be a way.

http://www.monbiot.com

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Back to the conversation with Peter M. about fasting.  He spoke enthusiastically about Dr. Mosley who one quickly discovers,

Dr. Michael Mosley.
Dr. Michael Mosley.

Michael J. Mosley (born 22 March 1957) is a British journalist, medical doctor, producer and TV presenter. He is probably best known as a television presenter of programmes on biology and medicine, particularly his series on the workings of the human body, Inside the Human Body and his regular appearances as the friendly medic on The One Show.

He was interviewed by Steve Wright of BBC Radio 2 back in January, 2012 and that interview is on YouTube:

That BBC Horizon programme is no longer available to watch but a 4-minute extract may be seen here:

Inevitably, Dr. Mosley has a website Fast Diet that is packed full of valuable information.

So just as soon as we have the water back to the house and I can have a long, hot shower I intend to adopt the 5:2 diet.

You don’t have to be mad …

… to live here, but it helps!

This was a guest post sent to me by regular contributor, Chris Snuggs, back in May.  It somehow slipped between the cracks, so to speak, and only came to light when I was trawling through a pile of draft posts.

Despite, or even because of, Madam Merkel’s re-election it still seemed a valuable post to publish.  Chris lives in Germany and has a very good perspective on things.

It may also serve as an interesting reflection on the IPCC’s report when it is published later this week.

Over to Chris.

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“Angela Merkel would seem to want it both ways.” (“Der Spiegel”)

The above comment caught my eye as I browsed through “Der Spiegel” this morning. Frau Merkel is delaying difficult decisions on energy production and “carbon backloading” until after the September elections in Germany.

Nothing earth-shattering in itself, of course. It is human nature to want it both ways, and examples do not lack.

One does somehow feel, however, that it has got worse in recent years. Kids want a highly-paid job without working their way up through the company hierarchy. Spain et al want to enjoy German prosperity by using EU “structural funds” without actually doing the boring hard work over decades. And politicians of course want growth and prosperity and a vast state apparatus plus a voter-bribing welfare system but without debt – or indeed troublesome whinging from the voters. However, as the proverb goes: “You can’t have your cake AND eat it.”

However, this article quoted is about something more serious than mere short-term greed, which is not exactly new in the history of Mankind. No, we are now applying the illusion that we can have it both ways in an area that threatens life on the planet – Global Warming of course.

As a concerned member of the “We don’t want to die from Global Warming Brigade”, I am more worried than ever about what is going on, and Germany is a symbol. Whatever the Germans do, they tend to do thoroughly and efficiently. They have a fairly large Green Party, a large investment in solar power and until recently seemed to be setting an example to Europe and the world. However, …..

•    Germany will this year start up more coal-fired power stations than at any time in the past 20 years as the country advances a plan to exit nuclear energy by 2022. Two coal-fired plants opened in 2012 and six more will open this year, adding up to 7 percent of Germany’s capacity. A dozen more are on track to open before 2020.  Greenhouse gas emissions in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, rose 1.6 percent last year as more coal was burned to generate power, the Environment Ministry said two days ago.

•    With the current carbon price, utility companies that have invested in low-carbon electricity generation such as wind and nuclear are losing market share to companies that produce energy using coal. Some companies are already acting on the low price of carbon in Europe. E.ON, for example, one of Germany’s largest utilities, announced recently that clean-energy investments will be cut to less than €1 billion in 2015 from €1.79 billion last year.

The thing is, if serious and efficient Germany is backsliding on emissions what are the chances for the rest of the world, with standards of living far below Germany and desperate to catch up?

An understanding of the problem of CO2 emissions is hardly new, yet it seems to me true to say that nothing serious is being done about it. There is lots of talk, noble efforts by Al Gore et al, international conferences, carbon-trading schemes and so on, but all the time CO2 emissions are increasing. Last week we learned that atmospheric CO2 has now reached 400 parts per million, a level not seen for 4 million years.

Despite this (and the consequences predicted seem to range from merely uncomfortable to threatening to life on Earth), the search for, exploitation and use of fossil fuels are all increasing. A student of logic would surely say that this is irrational; we are lowering ourselves to the level of lemmings, except that they can’t help it but we could.

We are completely hooked on fossil fuels; that is the problem. We have one minister ranting on about “saving the planet” and another proudly announcing new oil-wells, new areas earmarked for shale-fracking, developing countries opening new coal-fired power-stations. Industry in the west is making some efforts to clean up its act but these are being predictably swamped by growth in the developing economies.

It would be funny if it weren’t so serious. A few years ago “experts” talked about the end of oil as resources ran out but as we get cleverer at extracting it from more and more difficult places the availability of fossil fuels is actually going up! On top of this the melting poles (and Greenland) are opening up new areas for exploitation by the oil companies.

“Oil companies”. Yes, the Big, Bad and Ugly Culprits … and yet the last time I checked oil companies do not actually run the country they are based in. (Conspiracy and “Plutocrats run the World” theorists will certainly disagree with this, but that is another story!)

No, governments rule their countries, and while some are dictatorships and plenty of others are totally corrupt, there are a good number of democracies involved in this headlong rush to disaster. Worse, we are in a massive generalised recession and yet emissions are still creeping up. What will happen once “growth” takes off once more – as it will, these things going in cycles.

Living in Germany, I have personally been horrified by the decision to phase-out nuclear power. The Green movement is politically significant here and the government reacted rapidly and negatively to the Fukushima incident. This was indeed terrible, but does not change the facts:

– Nuclear is totally free of CO2 emissions.
– There has never been a serious accident in Western Europe.
– France still today derives over 70% of its electricity from nuclear.
– Nuclear designs are far safer than they were years ago.
– Nobody in their right mind would build a nuclear power station in an earthquake zone as the Japanese did – though if they want nuclear (and they have few natural resources) they don’t have a lot of choice
– Europe of course is an earthquake-free zone, except for Southern Italy.
– Nobody either would build one where the cooling pumps could be flooded by a tsunami – as the Japanese (usually so clever) ALSO did.

There are nonetheless dangers in nuclear of course, but:

– ONLY nuclear can currently provide enough power to satisfy our needs without CO2 emissions. Solar and wind are feeble pinpricks in comparison.
– There is no sign of a Deux ex Machina on the horizon that will solve the emission problems associated with fossil fuels.

My personal conclusion is that without nuclear we are doomed, since we seem totally incapable of reducing CO2 without it. On the contrary, now that shale-fracking has come on stream the emissions seem likely to rocket, with a presumable corresponding increase in Global Warming. And as far as that is concerned, it does seem to me – as a layman, like most of us – that we are involved in a vicious circle: the more the poles and Greenland melt, the more radiation is absorbed by the oceans and the more CO2 is released. People have talked about a “tipping point”, but it could just as easily be an “explosion point” – after which a geometrically increasing temperature in an unstoppable feedback cycle takes us to a Venusian scenario.

Not wishing to be to gloomy, but Frau Merkel’s procrastination is worrying. Politicians do things with such short-term considerations. She seems to be waiting till after the elections, but excuse me Frau Merkel, saving the planet can’t be put on hold.

Yes, whatever Europe does is pointless if India, China and South America are going to steam ahead, but someone has to set an example, and at the moment, Germany is burning much more coal AND opening new coal-fired power stations just as we should be cuttting back.

What is the solution? Nobody seems to know. If they do, they aren’t acting up on it. It is rather depressing. All Europe’s politicians are talking about at the moment is increasing growth = burning more fossil fuels. Even France is cutting back on nuclear ….

WHO WILL SAVE US?????

Finally, a few facts about emissions:

•    The world emitted 31.8bn tonnes of carbon dioxide from the consumption of energy in 2010 – up 6.7% on the year before.
•     The world emits 48% more carbon dioxide from the consumption of energy now than it did in 1992 when the first Rio summit took place.
•    China and India together are building four new coal-fired power stations per week
•    China – which only went into first place in 2006 – is racing ahead of the US, too. It emitted 8.3bn tonnes of CO2 in 2010 – up 240% on 1992, 15.5% on the previous year.
•    China now emits 48% more CO2 than the USA – and is responsible for a quarter of the world’s emissions. Chinese per capita emissions, however, are still around 60% lower than in the USA (now involved in extensive shale-fracking)
•    Global coal consumption grew by over 5% in 2010; gas by over 2%.
•    Renewable energy accounted for only 2.2% of global energy output in 2011, despite all the fanfare over wind turbines and solar panels.

See:

http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2012/08/fossil-fuel-consumption-still-rising-globally
http://www.thegwpf.org/china-india-building-4-coal-power-plants-week/

I tried to get a handle on some of these statistics. 31.8 billion tons of CO2! I went into the garden yesterday and tried to imagine the volume of gas that would weigh one ton. Impossible of course, so I looked it up: it is apparently 556.2m3 or a cube with sides of 8.3m.

Another amazing stat from this site (http://www.icbe.com/carbondatabase/CO2volumecalculation.asp) is that every year the United States emits a 33.14cm high blanket of carbon dioxide over its entire land area.

HAVE A GOOD DAY!!!!!

Chris

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Too hot to handle!

A stark reminder that more of the same will hurt us.

On the 14th August I published a post with the title of From feeling to doing.  The post was a 15-minute video presented by David Roberts of Grist showing, in essence, how fundamentally simple was the issue of climate change and how profound the implications if we didn’t halt the rise in the temperature of Planet Earth.

I’m not going to insert that video in this post because you can click on the link above and do that yourself.  What I will do is to draw your attention to the accompanying article on Grist under the title of Climate change is simple: We do something or we’re screwed. That article includes the slides that were in the video, such as this one:

So with that in mind, here’s what the BBC published on their news website yesterday morning,

Science advisor warns climate target ‘out the window’

Pallab GhoshBy Pallab Ghosh, Science correspondent, BBC News

One of the Government’s most senior scientific advisors has said that efforts to stop a sharp rise in global temperatures were now unrealistic.

Professor Sir Robert Watson said that the hope of restricting the average temperature rise to 2C was “out the window”.

He said that the rise could be as high as 5C – with dire conseqences.

Professor Watson added the Chancellor, George Osborne, should back efforts to cut the UK’s CO2 emissions.

He said: “I have to look back (on the outcome of sucessive climate change summits) Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban and say that I can’t be overly optimistic.

“To be quite candid the idea of a 2C target is largely out of the window.”

As the BBC points out Professor Watson is a highly respected and world renown scientist on climate change policy and is currently Chief Scientist at the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and a former Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  Professor Watson was also with the World Bank and an advisor to former Vice President Al Gore.  The BBC item goes on,

Professor Watson, who is due to step down from his role at Defra next month, suggested that the Chancellor, George Osborne, reconsider his opposition to tough measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr Osborne has said that the UK’s ambitious targets for CO2 should be relaxed so as not to drive businesses to countries which have set themselves much lower targets.

“I would say to George Osborne, ‘work with the public sector. Work with the public on behavior change. Let’s demonstrate to the rest of the world that we can make significant progress here” Professor Watson argues that the UK and Germany should continue to take the lead in driving efforts to reach an effective international treaty.

Hurt Poorest

“If we carry on the way we are there is a 50-50 chance that we will get to a 3 degree rise,” he said.

“I wouldn’t rule out a 5 degree world and that would be quite serious for the people of the world especially the poorest. We need more political will than we currently have”.

The IPCC 2007 assessment summarised the probable impact of various temperature rise sceanrios.

It shows that the impact on human health, the availability of food and water, the loss of coastlines becomes progressively worse as the average temperature of the planet rises.

The 2C target was agreed at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in 2010.

The majority of countries though prefer a lower target of 1.5C.

A number of analyses have also concluded that the 2C would be missed. The most recent was by the International Energy Agency earlier this year.

Professor Watson added that deep cuts in CO2 emissions are possible using innovative technologies without harming economic recovery.

“This doesn’t take a revolution in energy technology, an evolution would get us there.”

What I would add to this report that has been widely circulated is that while it’s natural to assume, ‘We need more political will than we currently have‘, that political will flows from the will of the people.

Take the effect of a 4C rise, as David Roberts explains,

Which is described in the Grist article as,

Here’s the edition of the Royal Society journal that came out of the conference on 4 degrees C of warming. Read through it and see if you think “hell on earth” is an exaggeration. Desertification, water shortages, agricultural disruptions, rising sea levels, vanishing coral, tropical forest die-offs, mass species extinctions, oh my. Kevin Anderson, one of the lead scientists involved, was moved to say that “a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable.”

So come on people, get real!  Make sure that the democratic systems work and that our leaders know the sort of change that has to take place.  As the wise Professor highlighted, ‘… deep cuts in CO2 emissions are possible using innovative technologies without harming economic recovery.’  Sort of makes sense to me.  How about you?

Stop, read, reflect and Act!

The latest from Bill McKibben has to be read and shared.

Introduction

We live in a world where there’s a great fondness for shortness, whether it’s headlines, soundbites, Twitter length ‘conversations’, text messages, and the rest.  However, I’m introducing an essay from Bill McKibben that is long.  When I use the word long I mean both literally, the essay is a shade under 6,200 words, and subjectively, the essay is long, very long, on meaning.

It was published in the August 2nd, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.  As Allyse of the 350.org team wrote in a widely distributed email,

Here at 350.org, we do a lot of our internal communication via online chat, and our written shorthand for “YES!” and “totally awesome!” and “you rock!” is “++”. Which is why I say to you: ++ Social Media Team, ++. You all rock.

Bill McKibben’s article in Rolling Stone—which we asked you to spread around the internet last week—has been shared on Facebook almost 100K times and seen by hundreds of thousands of people. Great work. If you haven’t read it yet, please do.

This article really lays out the intellectual framework for much of our work in the weeks, months, and years ahead. We want to keep pushing these ideas out there, especially this one: our objection to the fossil fuel industry is structural—these businesses are in fact planning to wreck the planet!

So we took a quote from Bill’s article and made it into a graphic that’s already been shared almost 2,500 times on Facebook. Will you help us push it past 5,000? Click here to share.

As you know if you’ve read the article, this is really an all-hands-on-deck moment for humanity. Thanks for doing your part—in ways both large and small.

Onward,

Allyse

Will you put aside some time, settle down in a comfortable chair, and read the article?  Please do!

It crossed my mind to split it over a couple of days but I decided against that.  But I have inserted a ‘click to reveal more’ about 1,100 words into the article – please do read on when you reach that point.  And just as important, do comment!

Oh, want to see that image on Facebook that has been shared so widely?  Here it is:

A’int that the truth!

Finally, feel free to share this as far and wide as you want.  Thank you.

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(Apart from the first image from Edel Rodriguez, all the other photographs have been inserted by me and are not in the original Rolling Stone production – I decided to insert them to make reading the article more visually attractive on a screen.)

Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is

Illustration by Edel Rodriguez

By Bill McKibben
July 19, 2012 9:35 AM ET

If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.

Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the “largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.” The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet’s history.

Not that our leaders seemed to notice. Last month the world’s nations, meeting in Rio for the 20th-anniversary reprise of a massive 1992 environmental summit, accomplished nothing. Unlike George H.W. Bush, who flew in for the first conclave, Barack Obama didn’t even attend. It was “a ghost of the glad, confident meeting 20 years ago,” the British journalist George Monbiot wrote; no one paid it much attention, footsteps echoing through the halls “once thronged by multitudes.” Since I wrote one of the first books for a general audience about global warming way back in 1989, and since I’ve spent the intervening decades working ineffectively to slow that warming, I can say with some confidence that we’re losing the fight, badly and quickly – losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in.

When we think about global warming at all, the arguments tend to be ideological, theological and economic. But to grasp the seriousness of our predicament, you just need to do a little math. For the past year, an easy and powerful bit of arithmetical analysis first published by financial analysts in the U.K. has been making the rounds of environmental conferences and journals, but it hasn’t yet broken through to the larger public. This analysis upends most of the conventional political thinking about climate change. And it allows us to understand our precarious – our almost-but-not-quite-finally hopeless – position with three simple numbers.

Continue reading “Stop, read, reflect and Act!”

Sanity out of insanity

Dogs are such a great metaphor!

There’s no question that when one stays very still and closely watches a dog’s behaviour you see an amazing level of awareness.  Even when they appear to be deeply asleep anything sensed by their ‘being’ is registered immediately.  A small tale, by way of example.  Many years ago when Pharaoh and I lived in the Devon village of Harberton, we  frequently shopped in the town of Totnes, just 3 miles away.  Many times, I would be walking up the High Street with Pharaoh nicely to heel being passed by many people walking the opposite way on the same pavement.

Totnes High Street

Every once in a while, during the fraction of time that it took for someone to pass us by, Pharaoh would utter a low, throatal growl without even slowing his pace.  I always presumed that something, way beyond my level of consciousness, had disturbed Pharaoh during that instant of time.

Real awareness, or if you prefer, consciousness is not some touchy/feely concept but a true understanding about just what the heck is going on.

So do watch the following video of Peter Russell discussing Rediscovering Ourselves; it’s very relevant.

Then have a read of a couple of items on Peter’s website.  The first is about runaway climate change, and here’s an extract,

Runaway Climate Change

The most dangerous aspect of global warming.

Global Warming is bad enough. Over the last hundred years, average global temperatures have increased by 0.75°C, one third of that rise occurring in the last twenty years. The 2007 report by The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) forecast that, by 2090, temperatures will have risen between 2 and 6 degrees.

Even a two degree rise in temperature would be disastrous. Changes in climate will lead to more intense storms, longer periods of drought, crop failures in many developing countries, the destruction of nearly all the coral reefs, the melting of much of the polar ice, the flooding of many low-lying urban areas, the possible collapse of the Amazonian rain forest, and the extinction of 20-30% of the planet’s species. The IPCC projects that this could happen by 2050.

If the temperature were to rise by six degrees, the prognosis is extremely bleak. At this temperature, the entire planet will be ice-free. Sea levels will rise by 70 meters. Many species of tiny plankton will cease to exist, and the problem would echo up the food chain, bringing the extinction of many fish, sea mammals, and the largest whales. Much of the land will now be desert. Hurricanes of unimaginable ferocity will bring widespread ecological devastation. If, as is possible, the ozone layer were destroyed, the burning ultraviolet light could make life on land impossible. Evolution would have been set back a billion years. It would be a planetary catastrophe.

Read the rest of that essay here.  Now on to the next extract, from here,

The Under-rated Approach to Carbon Reduction

As critical as it is to reduce future carbon emissions, it is equally critical, perhaps even more critical, to get much of the CO2 that as already been released—and which is responsible for the current warming—out of the atmosphere and back into the ground where it belongs.

This approach, known as carbon capture and sequestration, has until now been largely ignored, and for several reasons. The atmosphere is so huge, it would seem to be an impossible task. There are possible technologies, but they are not nearly so well-developed as alternative energy sources. Many are still only ideas on paper. Where technologies of carbon capture have been developed they are mostly for capturing CO2 from smokestacks. Valuable as this may be, it is still dealing with the problem of future carbon emissions. What we need are technologies that will remove from the atmosphere the carbon that we already emitted, and then sequestrate it (put it away) in a stable form.

It is to this end that Sir Richard Branson announced his $25 million prize (Virgin Earth Challenge) for technologies that could capture a billion tons of carbon a year from the atmosphere (about one tenth of what we now release each year). Nor is it just Richard Branson who believes we must make this an equally important approach to the problem. His team includes Al Gore, James Lovelock, Sir Crispin Tickell (former UK ambassador to the UN), and James Hansen, the head climate scientist at NASA).

Again, the full article, a ‘must-read, in my opinion, is here.

It is really about awareness!  Dogs have so much to teach us!