Globalization seems to be looked on as an unmitigated “good” by economists. Unfortunately, they miss the point that the world is finite. We don’t have infinite resources, or unlimited ability to handle excess pollution. So we’re setting up a “solution” that is at best temporary. Here’s why globalization is, in fact, a very major problem.
Paul McDivitt writes: Making wind and solar seem like they’re doing better than they really are could come back to bite proponents —and the climate. If people think we are about to replace fossil fuels with renewables, they will be less likely to demand new policies and take actions to lower their own carbon footprints.
The Paris climate agreement was hailed by Al Gore as the moment when “the community of nations finally made the decision to act”. But there’s been no readjustment of energy stock prices since then. Indeed, the flotation of a tranche of Saudi oil giant Aramco, is expected to create the most valuable company on earth.
The Guardian reports: The oil giant Shell issued a stark warning of the catastrophic risks of climate change more than a quarter of century ago in a prescient 1991 film that has been rediscovered. However, since then the multinational company has invested heavily in highly polluting oil reserves and also helped lobby against climate action.
There were 1.1 million premature deaths in India due to long-term exposure to pollutants. While China registered slightly higher figures, it has now acted against this hazard—the situation in India, in contrast, is getting worse. The highest number of premature deaths globally due to ozone is also in India. Might all this qualify as genocide?
Newsner reports: During a National Geographic-commissioned photo expedition to the Arctic, photographer James Balog and his team were examining a glacier when their cameras caught something out of the ordinary. This rare footage has gone on record as the largest glacier calving event ever captured on film, and presents a dire warning of things to come.
Yale Environment 360 reports: Last year marked the first time in several million years that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 passed 400 parts per million. Frighteningly, this modern rise of CO2 is also accelerating at an unusual rate. By looking at the Earth’s climate history, scientists are getting a sobering picture of where we are headed.
Suzanne Goldenberg reports: The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests. They range from investor-owned firms –household names such as Exxon and BP– to state-owned firms.
Brian Kahn writes: This year is likely to remembered as a turning point for climate change, with world leaders agreeing to move toward a clean energy future. It’s clear 2016 was a year where planetary peril and human hope stood out in stark contrast. Here are the 10 most important climate milestones of the year.
Gary Haq writes: The health impacts of air pollution are well documented; but now, new evidence suggests a link between air pollution and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, with exposure to poor air quality equivalent to passively smoking six cigarettes a day. Toxic air has been blamed for more road traffic crashes from pollutants distracting drivers.
Phys.org reports: The climate friendly electricity generated by solar panels in the past 40 years has all but cancelled out the polluting energy used to produce them, a study said Tuesday. Indeed, by some calculations, the so-called “break-even point” between dirty energy input and clean output may already have arrived, researchers in the Netherlands reported.
The Washington Post reports: In a massive new study published in the influential journal Nature, more than 50 authors from around the world document a so-called climate system “feedback” that, they say, could make global warming considerably worse over the coming decades. That feedback involves the planet’s soils, which are a massive repository of carbon.
Hydropower is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions: a new study shows that the world’s hydroelectric dams are responsible for as much methane emissions as Canada. The study finds that methane, which is at least 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide, makes up 80% of the emissions from water reservoirs created by dams.
On the eve of the American presidential election, where the two leading candidates offer little hope for climate action, it’s worth revisiting this hard-hitting 2006 article by Chad Harbach, who warned, “(Other countries) will do nothing until the United States demonstrates that a grand-scale transition to renewable energy can be achieved by big industrial countries.”
Brian Kahn writes: Climate change has entered a new phase, according to the UN World Meteorological Organization. Concentrations of carbon dioxide “surged again to new records in 2016,” and the WMO predicts that the annual average for CO2 would remain above 400 parts per million, 44 percent higher than before the Industrial Revolution, for generations.
A new study by Oil Change International and 14 other organizations, scientifically grounds the growing movement to keep carbon in the ground by revealing the need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and industry expansion. It’s accompanied by a letter to global leaders, to be delivered at the next round of UN climate negotiations.
The agreement has been welcomed because it would slow down what many fear would be an exponential rise in the greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons, what with the increased use of refrigerators, ACs and cars in China and India in the years to come. But, IPCC data suggests we need to keep our excitement in check.
Former NASA scientist James Hansen is widely regarded as ‘the father of climate change awareness’. His new paper, titled ‘Young People’s Burden’, outlines how — if governments don’t take aggressive climate action today—future generations will inherit a climate system so altered it will require prohibitively expensive— and possibly infeasible— extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere.
The Hindu reports: Air pollution could have killed at least 600,000 Indians in 2012, worldwide because they were exposed to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that may have aggravated or been directly responsible for cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer according to the WHO. India comes just behind China–which witnessed an estimated 800,000 deaths, says the study.
Global Risk Insights reports: Recent developments suggest that India has been seeking to leverage its ratification of the Paris Agreement. Specifically, the Modi Government has claimed it will only be able to meet emissions reduction targets if it rapidly expands its capacity to produce nuclear energy, which would be difficult to achieve without NSG membership. Global