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As Dire as It Sounds, IPCC Report Is an Understatement – April 3, 2014

The consensus text does not track the bleeding edge of anxiety

There are two things to keep in mind if you would know the climate future. The first is that, as scientific statesman John Holdren likes to say, it will come to us as a mixture of mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. The second is that the suffering will be disproportionally visited upon the poor and the innocent.

Storm CloudsPhoto by Tal AtlasWhere once there was constant recourse to “this storm/drought/surge is consistent with global warming,” we’re now increasingly likely to hear “this storm/ drought/surge would not have happened without global warming.”

Hold these thoughts when considering the massive tome just issued by the IPCC’s… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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Climate Denialism has Peaked. Now What Are We Going to Do? – April 8, 2013

We need action on the scale that’s actually necessary, rather than the scale that appears to be possible

head in sand

It was never going to be easy to face the ecological crisis. Even back in the 1970s, before climate took center stage, it was clear that we the prosperous were walking far too heavily. And that “environmentalism,” as it was called, was only going to be a small beginning. But it was only when the climate crisis pushed fossil energy into the spotlight that the real stakes were widely recognized. Fossil fuels are the meat and potatoes of industrial civilization, and the need to rapidly and radically reduce their emissions cut right through to the heart of the great American dream. And the European dream. And, inevitably, the… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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Equity: No Longer a Peripheral Issue at Global Climate Talks – November 26, 2012

What’s needed now is courage, and a bit of real statesmanship that takes into account the evolving realities of this mad and dangerous world

Well, the annual climate talks began again today. This time they’re in Doha, the capital of Qatar, which has the highest per-capita emissions in the world.

Equity is, of course on the agenda. The surprise — at least it’s a surprise for some — is that its no longer a peripheral issue. With the negotiations now tasked with setting the stage for a 2015 negotiations breakthrough, equity is getting some real time in the spotlight. In that context, you might spare a moment to read The pathway to Ambition, the “equity opener” which was just published in the opening edition of the Climate Action Network’s ECO newsletter. I… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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“Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” — Bill McKibben’s call for a carbon divestment move – July 27, 2012

But the core problem here is that, absent real leapfrogging, the developing countries will be hard put to take any paths apart from those that have already been pioneered in the wealthy world

The new issue of Rolling Stone has a major essay by Bill McKibben, called Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math. It’s a must read, for a number of reasons. The big one is that McKibben’s call for a “carbon disinvestment” movement – aimed at breaking the hammerlock that the fossil cartel has on our civilization – is a big step forward. It’s not the only step we need to take (more on this below) but it would make a huge difference.

First up, Terrifying New Math is a fine science-for-civilians essay on the recent “extreme weather,” which has been monumental. In fact, the summer of 2012 may well turn out to… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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An Arithmetic Proof Against the Keystone XL Pipeline – September 28, 2011

Do the Math: Burning the Tar Sands = Climate Catastrophe

Photo by Steve Meirowsky A truck hauls 36-inch pipe for Keystone XL Pipeline south east of Peabody, Kansas.

The first wave of Keystone XL Pipeline protests — the arrests at the White House back in August — was one for the history books. At a time of crisis in the climate movement, and in the Obama presidency, the protesters managed to open a major new front in the carbon war and even to invigorate the domestic climate movement.  Moreover, there’s every reason to hope that the resistance to the pipeline will keep rising.  Still, a friend of mine recently asked me: “Why oppose this project… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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