More climate change stuff, this time a press release and call for action from Bill McKibben. See also “Himalayan sherpas bugged by the sight of house flies at 5,000m: House flies at Everest basecamp are another sign of climate change that is melting glaciers with worrying speed” by John Vidal.
NOTE: colonos really suspect that McKibben is aiming too low:
“NASA’s [politically conservative] Dr James Hansen says that an atmospheric CO2 concentration of about 325 needed to restore planetary energy balance and about 300 ppm CO2 is needed to restore Arctic sea ice to what it was 25 years ago.”
For a stronger demand, see: 300.0rg
October 13, 2009
Dear Friend of CommonDreams.org,
For years CommonDreams.org has been a leader in covering one of the most critical issues of our times: the survival of our planet. That’s why I approached Craig Brown and the CommonDreams.org team to ask if I could share this news with you about a milestone event coming up on October 24 – an event we hope you’ll take part in.
This is an unofficial translation of a Ecuadorian indigenous peoples’ statement on REDD:
CONFEDERATION OF INDIGENOUS NATIONALITIES OF THE ECUADORIAN AMAZON (CONFENIAE)
(Logo and letterhead, list of members including organizations of the Shuar, Kichwa, Achuar, Waorani, Siona, Secoya, Cofan, Zapara, Shiwiar and Andoa Peoples)
Unión Base, Puyo August 3rd, 2009
CONFENIAE REJECTS ALL KINDS OF ENVIRONMENTAL NEGOCIATIONS ON FORESTS AND EXTRACTIVE POLICIES THAT DAMAGE THE TERRITORIES OF THE AMAZONIAN INDIGENOUS NATIONALITIES AND PEOPLES OF ECUADOR.
Reflections from the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change: Burden Lies with Rich Polluters
Here is an article by “International Environmental Journalist” Stephen Leahy:
Burden Lies with Rich Polluters, Native People Say
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Apr 27 (IPS) – Already suffering significant impacts from climate change, indigenous peoples at the close of an international summit here rejected the concept of carbon trading and offsets. Many also called for a moratorium on all new oil and gas exploration in their traditional territories and the eventual phase-out of fossil fuels.
“It has been heartbreaking to hear everyone’s stories about the dire threats climate change poses to their survival,” said Andrea Carmen of the Yaqui Indian Nation in the U.S. at the end of the U.N.-affiliated Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change here last Friday.
More than 400 indigenous people and observers from 80 nations participated in the first ever global discussion on climate change focusing on native communities.
“Indigenous peoples are all profoundly affected by climate change, losing our traditional foods, homes and livelihoods,” Carmen, executive director of the International Indian Treaty Council, a U.S.-based rights organisation, told IPS.
In yesterday’s Guardian there is yet “another hard-luck story that you’re gonna hear”:
“Chris Jones, who led the research, told the conference: “A temperature rise of anything over 1C commits you to some future loss of Amazon forest. Even the commonly quoted 2C target already commits us to 20-40% loss. On any kind of pragmatic timescale, I think we should see loss of the Amazon forest as irreversible.” Peter Cox, professor of climate system dynamics at the University of Exeter, said the effects would be felt around the world. “Ecologically it would be a catastrophe and it would be taking a huge chance with our own climate. The tropics are drivers of the world’s weather systems and killing the Amazon is likely to change them forever. We don’t know exactly what would happen but we could expect more extreme weather.”
Massive Amazon loss would also amplify global warming “significantly” he said. “Destroying the Amazon would also turn what is a significant carbon sink into a significant source.””
Just a few days ago new results came out about the loss of arctic ice showing once again that predictions are continuously shown to be way too conservative – positive feedback loops are upon us:
“Amazon dieback is one of the key positive feedbacks brought about by global warming. These are typically runaway processes in which global temperature rises lead to further releases of CO², which in turn brings about more global warming. In the Amazon this happens on a more localised scale but the result, increased forest death, also releases carbon into the atmosphere.
Experts predict that higher worldwide temperatures will reduce rainfall in the Amazon region, which will cause widespread local drought. With less water and tree growth, “homegrown” rainfall produced by the forest will reduce as well, as it depends on water passed into the atmosphere above the forests by the trees. The cycle continues, with even less rain causing more drought, and so on.
With no water, the root systems collapse and the trees fall over. The parched forest becomes tinderbox dry and more susceptible to fire, which can spread to destroy the still-healthy patches of forest.
Other positive feedback effects expected by scientists, are releases of carbon stored in frozen arctic ecosystems and an increase in the sun’s energy absorbed by the planet as ice melts.”
As already mentioned above, new results from the ice front have arrived and the predictions for an ice free Arctic summer is not far in the future:
“The year “2013 is starting to look as though it is a lot more reasonable as a prediction. But each year we’ve been wrong — each year we’re finding that it’s a little bit faster than expected,” he told Reuters.
The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world and the sea ice cover shrank to a record low in 2007 before growing slightly in 2008.
In 2004 a major international panel forecast the cover could vanish by 2100. Last December, some experts said the summer ice could go in the next 10 or 20 years.
If the ice cover disappears, it could have major consequences. Shipping companies are already musing about short cuts through the Arctic, which also contains enormous reserves of oil and natural gas.”
It’s not looking good.
Colonos is involved in preparing a concept paper, which will be presented at the “Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change” at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage, Alaska (USA), 20-24 April 2009. It concerns the categorisation and organisation of contents well as a licensing framework for a web portal providing access to climate change adaptation strategies and tactics based on indigenous knowledge practices and captured in the spirit of the practitioners, whether in moving pictures, still, song or poetry. Not an easy conceptual task on a rather politically volatile and culturally sensitive terrain. However, we thought (something like) “better us than someone with less of a strong political analysis and feeling of solidarity and spirit of rebellion” (just to blow our own horn, perhaps?!).
One of the central challenges is spelled out in this quote from the Introduction to a Special Issue of Futures: Futures of Indigenous Knowledges. Volume 41, Issue 1, Pages 1-66 (February 2009):
“[T]he future for [Indigenous Knowledges] IKs lies in the creation of a knowledge space for assembling diverse knowledges. The critical strategic capacity to allow the comparative evaluation and growth of diverse knowledge traditions with differing epistemologies and ontologies, with differing ways of understanding and framing the world, may be humanity’s last hope for a future. .. But … is it possible for IKs to be moved from their site of cultural production, enter the knowledge economy and become part of the global knowledge commons without losing their cultural specificity, without being homogenised and submerged in one globalised system?” (Turnbull 2009)
We can reveal that the concept paper recommends the Transmission Metadata Standard, links to IFIWatch.TV, and draws upon the experiences of the Free Culture movement, more specifically the Free Software movement’s strategies and tactics for the reform of copyright. More on that later…
Meanwhile, here is the invitation to the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change:
The United Nations have released a report on the phenomenon dubbed as the Asian Brown Cloud, which is a thick soup of human waste engulfing Asia, and which has been widely reported:
“A dirty brown haze sometimes more than a mile thick is darkening skies not only over vast areas of Asia, but also in the Middle East, southern Africa and the Amazon Basin, changing weather patterns around the world and threatening health and food supplies, the U.N. reported Thursday.
The huge smog-like plumes, caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels and firewood, are known as “atmospheric brown clouds.”
When mixed with emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for warming the earth’s atmosphere like a greenhouse, they are the newest threat to the global environment, according to a report commissioned by the U.N. Environment Program.”
“One of the most serious problems highlighted in the report is the documented retreat of the Hind Kush-Himalayan-Tibetan glaciers, which provide the head-waters for most Asian rivers, and thus have serious implications for the water and food security of Asia”
This taken together with the alarming development all over the world, but particularly with regards to tropical glaciers in South America, mainly Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, it is looking more and more like game over soon. There really isn’t much time left. The Asian Brown cloud, first reported on in 2002 has now grown to a full scale threat of immanent disaster. Water is running out, the Himalayan glaciers whose decay are accelerated by the Asian Brown Cloud feed around 2 billion people with water to drink and to grow crops. Now go figure…