As a lifelong eco-activist, I always thought it was a critical mistake to name the crisis caused by excessive carbon emissions into the atmosphere "Global Warming." It made it sound like it was about the weather, when in reality it is about the end of life as we humans have always known it.
I was somewhat encouraged when the term "Climate Change" entered the conversation, because at least it is a more accurate scientific term for what is happening. But as Per Epsen Stoknes points out in his new book on the psychology of the climate crisis, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming, this term has fared no better at conveying the urgency and seriousness of this mortal crisis to the average (distracted) American consumer.
Mercer launches new global climate change investments report
A new report from Mercer modelling the potential impact of climate change on investments, has found investors cannot ignore the implications for investment returns. The research reveals investors can manage the risk most effectively by looking ‘under the hood’ of their portfolios and factoring climate change into their risk modelling, which requires a significant behavioral shift for most.
The report, titled “Investing in a time of climate change.” outlines actions for investors to manage key downside risks and access opportunities. It is the culmination of a research project that began in September 2014 and will be launched in London today; ahead of negotiations for a new global climate agreement at the end of 2015 in Paris.
The investment modelling in Mercer’s report estimates the potential impact of climate change on returns for portfolios, asset classes and industry sectors between 2015 and 2050, based on four climate change scenarios and four climate risk factors. The four scenarios represent a rise in global temperature above pre-industrial era temperatures of 2°C, 3°C and two 4°C scenarios (with different levels of potential physical impacts).
This is an edited version of a speech that given by Naomi Klein on May 21st in downtown Toronto, at a press conference announcing the upcoming March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate on July 5.
I’ve had the incredible privilege of traveling around the world and meeting with activists, labour unions, and politicians who are focusing on climate change. I want to tell you that that the coalition of groups we’re witnessing being assembled here in Canada is unique: organizations representing the most marginalized people in Toronto; First Nations who are our water and carbon keepers; environmentalists waging inspiring divestment campaigns; and the trade union movement, including the country’s largest private sector union representing workers at the heart of the fossil fuel economy. We understand that we have key differences, but we also understand that what unites us is greater.
That’s why we’re coming together in Toronto on July 5 for a March for Jobs, Justice and Climate Action. What you’re seeing are the first steps towards a new kind of climate movement. It’s a climate movement that recognizes that time is too short to allow our divisions to keep us from building the kind of coalitions that will safeguard life on earth.
Changes in the Arctic Ocean have now become so profound that the region is entering what Norwegian scientists are calling "a new era." They warn of "far-reaching implications" due to the switch from a permanent cover of thick ice to a new state in which thinner ice vanishes in the summer.
Meanwhile, sea level rise is now happening much faster than anyone had expected, according to a recently published study from climate scientists in Australia. The study showed that sea level rise has been accelerating over the last two decades.
In 2014, 39 percent of American electricity was generated by burning coal – down from 52.8 percent from 1997. Though the fuel source has steadily declined from its late 20th century peak due to competition with other energy sources and increased enforcement of environmental safety measures, the coal industry still maintains great economic and political power. However Big Coal may face its biggest challenge yet as the EPA implements new regulations governing greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, coal plants are shutting down at an impressive rate.
California, which has long been known as a leader in finding ways to cut its contribution to climate change, just one-upped itself.
On Monday, Democratic lawmakers in the state unveiled a package of four bills that aim to tackle climate change in the state. One of the bills, SB 350, calls for a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use in cars and trucks, a 50 percent increase in energy efficiency in buildings, and a goal of 50 percent of state utilities’ power coming from renewable energy, all by 2030. Current California law requires utilities get 33 percent of their energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar, by 2050. SB 350’s goals are virtually the same as the ones called for by California Gov. Jerry Brown in his inaugural address in January.