Category: envirOnment

With the release of its National Climate Assessment on Friday, the U.S. government has released a report—which states the current period is “now the warmest in the history of modern civilization”—that critics say directly and irrefutably undermines the climate denialism and inaction of President Donald Trump and his administration.

“Even as this report sounds the alarm, Trump’s team of climate deniers are twisting themselves into pretzels to justify blocking national and international climate action. If America’s leaders don’t start listening to scientists, the whole world is going to pay a truly terrible price.”

Mandated by law and released every four years, the Fourth National Climate Assessment (or NCA4) — which states that recent years have seen “record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe”— concludes (with emphasis in the original) that “based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”

Arctic Resilience Report, 2016 (Stockholm Environment Institute)

This report is the concluding scientific product of the Arctic Resilience Assessment, a project launched by the Swedish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

The project’s 2013 Interim Report provided the conceptual foundations for this final report, as well as a detailed survey of resilience research in the Arctic to date. This Final Report extends that effort by providing a novel assessment of Arctic change and resilience, including factors that appear to support or weaken resilience. It provides an overview of tools and strategies that can be used to assess and build resilience in the Arctic, and considers how the Arctic Council can contribute to those efforts.

The authors hope that the insights presented in the report will help Arctic nations to better understand the changes taking place in the region, and contribute to strengthening Arctic people’s capacity to navigate the rapid, turbulent and often unexpected changes they face in the 21st century.


just click above for report in full pdf



The Tree:

The Coalition government’s war on renewables has slowed clean energy investment, undermining jobs, raising emissions, and making the task to clean up Australia’s energy sector far harder. New data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance has highlighted the damage a government determined to fight the future can do, with the Abbott-led Coalition government overseeing a two-year stall in investments in large scale renewables. While the situation has marginally improved under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, it remains party policy to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. This means confidence in the sector is likely to remain lacking, making the job of reaching the Renewable Energy Target harder, and hurting job development in a sector that the US, for example, has seen surge to employing 77 per cent more workers than coal mining.

Despite Coalition roadblocks, the renewable transition is still hastening in Australia as it is around the world. While large scale renewable investment has taken a hit, solar PV continues to boom in Australia, with bloomberg finding it attracted the fifth largest investment in small-scale PV in 2015 globall. $2.17 billion was spent on solar last year, putting Australia ahead of Germany, and behind the UK and Japan. Considering Australia is expected to become a world leader in the deployment of battery storage, it is hard to imagine anything but further booming growth for renewables ahead.

Cheap oil and gas are not stopping renewable development. While the Australian government has worked to slow renewable development and protect coal, wind and solar have ‘done the unthinkable’ and trumped fossil fuels to boom to record levels of investment in 2015. The reality is the renewable transition is inevitable, unstoppable, and as new Bloomberg data shows – happening faster than many (particularly those in the fossil industry) could have imagined. This transition will only hasten further as the Paris Effect sinks in.



Some Republican presidential candidates are clamoring for increased U.S. military aid to “moderate” rebels battling Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship in Syria.

Fortunately, President Obama is taking a far wiser course with a renewed diplomatic effort to resolve that horrendous civil war. But he is not getting the support he needs from his potential Democratic successors.

The Alberta Clipper pipeline is already transporting huge quantities of oil, but is doing so under the radar.
Why have the power players of the Democratic Party allowed this to continue?
It’s a blow to progressive journalism, the media union movement and smart, necessary reporting.

Remembering Hillary’s Entry into Politics–For Junior High President

The story of Hillary Clinton’s first campaign and her outrage at Nixon’s 1960 defeat. Plus her famous chocolate chip cookie recipe.
They’re obscure, they’re poorly distributed–but you can track them down. It will be worth it.
For the most part, Americans don’t think or care much about the real-world consequences of unleashing American air power.

A New Documentary Explores the Anti-Apartheid Activists in South Africa You Never Learned About

A new film project explores a long-forgotten chapter inthe global struggle against apartheid.

Watching Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight Is Three Hours of Self-Punishment and I Loved It

Tarantino gives us a hangman-based civilization, with specious “law and order” talk doing nothing to obscure the essential cruelty of his characters’ actions.

Rahm Emanuel Is Trying To Pay Wall Street Banks Even More for Chicago’s Bad Financial Deals

While claiming the city is broke, Chicago’s mayor is stepping up payments to Wall Street.

The Powers of Ten films are two short American documentary films written and directed by Charles and Ray Eames. Both works depict the relative scale of the Universe according to an order of magnitude (or logarithmic scale) based on a factor of ten, first expanding out from the Earth until the entire universe is surveyed, then reducing inward until a single atom and its quarks are observed.

Indigenous Peoples' Pavillion

The Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion at the UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris is located within the civil society ‘Climate Generations Space’, directly adjacent to the COP 21 “Blue Zone” negotiation space.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion is organized and programmed by the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) with support from the Governments of Norway and France, in addition to UNDP.

Indigenous Peoples around the wOrld…

There are over 370 million indigenous people around the world. They have their own distinct languages, cultures, and social and political institutions apart from mainstream society. Though divided amongst all continents, at least 5000 different peoples, and approximately 4000 languages, they are coming together with a common voice to address historic inequities which have resulted in these groups being some of the most marginalized and victimized communities.

Indigenous Peoples, the Environment and Climate Change…

Given their widespread reliance on natural resources and ecosystems, indigenous peoples and local communities are especially vulnerable to, and disproportionately impacted by, climate change. They are being forcibly removed from their lands by deforestation, sea-level rise, major infrastructure projects, and conflict arising from resource scarcity. All the while, they play a critical role in climate change mitigation and adaptation through their historic and effective role as stewards of much of the world’s remaining forests….

source: IIPFCC ::: click logo, or here, to access :::

human cost warming

As climate talks in Paris approach, stakes are high for frontline communities with the most to lose. Yesterday, UNICEF reported that children will suffer the harshest impacts from rising temperatures. Their findings revealed that “over half a billion children live in extremely high flood occurrence zones; nearly 160 million live in high or extremely high drought severity zones.”

The billions of children in these vulnerable areas are also living below the poverty line. Along with death and devastation brought on by climate change impacts, rising temperatures can also contribute to malnutrition, malaria and diarrhea — all of which are deadly to children. With the WMO revealing that this year is the hottest on record, NGOs are turning up the pressure on negotiators to deliver an even stronger deal to “avert these costs for the world’s poorest people.”


Tools and Resources

There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

Carl Sagan


…excerpt from The Tree:

In the first concrete legal action against ExxonMobil’s web of climate lies, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced he will investigate whether the oil giant knowingly misled the public and investors about the dangers of climate change. Last month from InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times revealed that Exxon’s own scientists warned the company’s top leadership that burning fossil fuels causes climate change with potentially “catastrophic” impacts as far back as 1977. Yet despite this warning the company spent decades funneling millions of dollars into groups that dispute or cast doubt on the connection between fossil fuels and climate change. With the dirty tactics of fossil fuel companies well and truly in the open, the ExxonMobil investigation should be a warning shot for other companies that they will no longer be allowed to peddle misinformation and must once and for all wake up to the dampening demand for fossil fuels…

More recent coverage of Exxon Mobil climate change revelations…

Projected impact of the former on Paris Climate Talks?

The New Matilda:

‘Malcolm Turnbull’s Dirty Money Means Oz Won’t Be Taken Seriously At Paris Climate Talks, says’

Climate advocacy group has demanded Malcolm Turnbull divest from ExxonMobil, which is under investigation for a climate change cover-up…

::: click here for piece in full @ The New Matilda :::





Newsletter 8 November 2015
A 6-month In These Times investigation finds that the revolving door between government and the chemical industry has led the EPA to rely on easily manipulated research.
Sawant beat the establishment at its own game. Now comes the hard part.
Wealthy parents pour more resources into their children’s futures, but middle- and lower-income families are being squeezed, resulting in an education gap.
Why do many hazardous chemicals go unregulated in the United States? An In These Times investigation reveals the answer.
The White House has finally released the text of the trade deal, and the reviews are scorching.
Using the phrase “no fault of their own” in discussing undocumented young people does not encourage us to look at the roots of the poverty and violence their families experience.
The 82-year old Nation of Islam leader filled the National Mall in October. Why didn’t the media take much notice?
The psychology behind the ‘Notorious RBG’ phenomenon.
CPCs have repeatedly provided misleading or, in some cases completely false, information for pregnant women.
Labor For Bernie Sanders Activists Say They Are Undeterred By Union Endorsements of Hillary Clinton

Despite a number of high-profile endorsements for Clinton, Sanders supporters still say he is the best choice for promoting workers’ rights.
Is it possible to create a more equitable society without all-out social warfare being the catalyst?


“Australia is one of the most vulnerable developed countries in the world to climate change impacts. This is already posing very significant challenges to food production. Food prices will continue to go up, the quality of food could be compromised and the seasonality of food could change as the climate continues to warm and weather patterns become more unpredictable. Many of our favourite foods, including milk, fruit, vegetables, wine and beef are already being affected by climate change and these impacts will grow as weather extremes get worse.”

The Climate Council’s Professor Lesley Hughes

The Tree:

Climate change represents a clear and growing threat to Australia’s food security, according to a new report from The Climate Council. Titled Feeding a hungry nation: climate change, food and farming in Australia, the report shows that rising temperatures and lower rainfall have already affected crop yields, and both yields and quality will continue to decrease as climate change drives more frequent and intense extreme weather events, such as bushfires and drought. As agricultural commodities are worth roughly $50 billion a year, and the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector employs 2.6 per cent of all Australians, the impact on Australia’s economy will likely be great – particularly if action to address climate change remains inadequate. The Climate Council warns that strong, urgent action to transition to a low carbon economy is needed, and if undertaken will – like more efficient use of water resources and protection of farmland from coal mining – help Australia secure its food supply while tapping into the vast co-benefits of climate action.




Climate change is unfair. While rich countries can fight against rising oceans and dying farm fields, poor people around the world are already having their lives upended — and their human rights threatened — by killer storms, starvation and the loss of their own lands. Mary Robinson asks us to join the movement for worldwide climate justice.

Mary Robinson served as president of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002. She now leads a foundation devoted to climate justice. Full bio


News & Views | 09.18.15


Refugees Left Stranded As EU Faces ‘Crisis of Political Will’
by Andrea Germanos
“You aren’t going to solve these problems by closing borders.”


‘Foolish and Mean-Spirited’: US House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood
by Deirdre Fulton
Both measures are opposed by women’s health organizations, the White House, and a majority of the American public.
Citing Abuses, US Commission Demands Release of Refugee Families
by Sarah Lazare
The violations are so egregious that all families should be released, detentions reduced, and alternatives to incarceration fostered.
Up 72 Perecent From Just Six Years Ago, Organic Farm Sales Soar
by Nadia Prupis
Americans are increasingly hungry for naturally-grown and healthier foods.
Facing South, Bernie Sanders Ramps Up Outreach in SC and Beyond
by Deirdre Fulton
David is rising against Goliath, with a grassroots campaign meant to increase Sanders’ exposure among minority voters in the Bible Belt and across the South.
According to New IEA Chief, Arctic Drilling Is Stupid Business
by Sarah Lazare
Birol’s statements come amid growing calls to place people and the planet over profit by leaving fossil fuels in the ground.
New Orleans Running ‘Modern Debtors Prison,’ Lawsuit Charges
by Nadia Prupis
Orleans Parish has resurrected unconstitutional “debtors’ prisons” by routinely jailing the region’s poorest residents over their inability to pay court fees and other fines.
more news…


Obama’s Fateful Syrian Choice
by Robert Parry
He can either work with Russia’s President Putin to stabilize Syria or he can opt for a confrontation that could lead to an open-ended war.
The Fed Gets It Right. Now Let’s Move to Full Employment
by Isaiah Poole
“The case for raising short-term interest rates is extraordinarily weak. That is not the economy we have today.”
Open Homes, Open Borders: A Dispatch from a German Village Sheltering 400 Refugees
by Melody Ermachild Chavis
There is no end to the long line of human beings underway tonight.
Standing With Ahmed and All Children of Color
by Sonali Kolhatkar
If Obama truly wants America to be great, as his tweet to Ahmed suggests, he can begin by making it a country that treats its Muslim citizens without suspicion.
Resisting the Lure of Intervention
by John Feffer
With each nuclear weapon, jet engine, and space rocket we deploy, we venture further into the Orange Zone, heading blindly, if not boldly, toward the point of no return.
The Republican Foreign Policy Consensus: Lunacy
by Robert Borosage
If you want a president to lead us into constant wars “anywhere in the world,” Republicans have your man.
more views…


Senator Scott Ludlam…

With opposition to the Perth Freight Link mounting, a Senate inquiry underway and the government’s credibility crumbling, it’s time to encourage the three main companies bidding to build this toxic freeway to walk away.

The Perth Freight Link is a $1.6 billion project to construct 14km of freight freeway through our communities and bushland, including the Beeliar Wetlands.

More than 30 separate community groups are fighting to stop this incredibly expensive and unnecessary road from being built.

With mounting opposition and doubt hanging over the project it’s guaranteed that any company involved in the Perth Freight Link will face costly delays and tarnished reputations.

It’s time to let the companies tendering for the contracts know that this is one tender they don’t want to win.

We’ve also produced a series of postcards to send to the tender companies. To request some postcards phone 08 9335 7477 or email  with your postal address and the number of cards you can use.

With contracts to build Roe 8 due to be signed in October we must act now and let these companies know their reputation and legacy is at stake if they continue with WA’s most hated project.

A toxic freeway that would cause permanent and irreparable harm…

Image cc 3.0 by Jason Girvan

It’s all happening in WA, with a large campaign to stop a freight link destroying local wetlands, wins and losses in animal welfare and a roundtable on urban forests.


Candidate for Higgins, Jason Ball

Being the first was never his goal. But amid the deafening silence, Jason Ball knew someone had to speak.


Mehreen Faruqi, NSW MP

As a member of parliament, I receive plenty of racist comments. But the tone of abuse has recently changed. I believe racism is becoming legitimised in Australia.


The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the biggest trade deal in Australia’s history. However, it is being negotiated in total secrecy. What will it mean for our future?

The newly unveiled logo for Sea Shepherd’s Operation Henkaku

Sea Shepherd, August 10, 2015:

The newly unveiled logo for Sea Shepherd’s Operation HenkakuThe Campaign, to be Called ‘Operation Henkaku,’ Translating to ‘Metamorphosis’ or ‘Transformation,’ Reflects Sea Shepherd’s Evolving Efforts to End the Capture and Slaughter of Dolphins and Small Whales and the Growing Global Opposition to this Brutal Hunt…

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and its team of Cove Guardians will officially launch the sixth consecutive season of Sea Shepherd’s Dolphin Defense Campaign on Sept. 1, 2015 in Taiji, Japan. Titled Operation Henkaku (Operation Metamorphosis), preparations are underway for the campaign, during which Sea Shepherd will once again have an international team of volunteer Cove Guardians stationed along the infamous cove, documenting and live streaming the brutal capture and slaughter of dolphins and pilot whales for the world to see.

In the drive hunt conducted by the Taiji Fishermen’s Union, typically spanning from September until March, more than a thousand cetaceans are driven into the cove each year – some ruthlessly killed before the eyes of their family members and others torn away from their family pods to be sold to captive facilities in Japan or overseas. As Sea Shepherd has documented time and time again, the captive selection process occurs simultaneously to the slaughter – and the lucrative international trade in live dolphins for captivity is the economic fuel that drives the hunting boats in search of pods…





A California judge affirmed that it’s illegal to detain children, and ordered their mothers released, too.


Attendees at parties across Iowa say that Bernie is “the guy we need right now.”

Andrew Highsmith charts the rise and fall of Flint, a city deserted by industry and divided by segregation.


The cure for planned Apple-escence.


The vision of the socialist organizer remains inspiring.


U.S. media commentary on the accord portrays U.S. global military supremacy as natural and desirable.


Critics who simply claim that “Coates is no Baldwin” are ignoring what can be a comparison that allows us to understand both writers more deeply.


On postwar anti-communist surveillance in Britain.


Continually policing the ways women talk will further reduce them to silence.



As Nabisco Ships 600 Jobs Out of Chicago to Mexico, Maybe It’s Time To Give Up Oreos

Chicago is poised to lose 600 well-paying jobs on the city’s Southwest Side.



In his new climate encyclical, Pope Francis seeks to rekindle ecological consciousness.



The coal industry’s misleading attempts to brand itself as a poverty fighter continue to unravel, with a new report from Oxfam demonstrating that renewable energy is the easiest, cheapest, and most effective method to give people life-changing energy access. The Powering Up Against Poverty report shows that given its heavy health and climate impacts, coal is an ill-conceived solution to bring power to one billion people around the world and, as 84 per cent of the energy poor live in rural areas, the cost of extending electricity grids to those rural areas is prohibitively expensive. Oxfam has also warned the Australian Government – which has been aggressively parroting coal industry rhetoric – that it is time to end its love affair with coal, as it’s risking not only the global climate, but its economic and political future, given the growing emphasis on renewable energy in China, India, Africa and major economies like the US.

Renewables are the best and only choice to address energy poverty in the developing world. Oxfam notes that four out of five people without electricity live in rural areas that are often not connected to a centralised energy grid. Renewable energy solutions offer them a much more affordable, practical and healthy solution than coal. Coal’s so-called ability to lift them out of poverty is a PR exercise, as the health, climate, and economic consequences that come with coal do far more harm than good. Fossil fuels cost society US$105-$122 per tonne of carbon dioxide – two to nine times their total revenue – according to a University of Cambridge study. Companies like Peabody Energy have a net negative economic contribution to society and, as this becomes clearer, it is little wonder why the transition to clean, renewable energy is picking up steam faster than many imagined.

Climate change is hitting poor communities first and hardest, and coal is the biggest single contribution to climate change.Addressing climate change and reducing poverty go hand in hand. From an energy access point of view, renewables offer the cheapest, fastest, and healthiest way to increase energy access, which is why the world is shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy faster than most had predicted. With its heavy environmental, health and economic impacts, coal is a major threat in the fight against hunger and poverty.

Coal is not “good for humanity”, and it’s not even good for coal companies. The changing energy landscape globally has seen coal giant Peabody Energy’s stock price sink like a stone. The company has lost just over a billion US dollars in three months, making it one of the world’s most high-profile examples of the ongoing death of fossil fuels. It may think that it can save its skin by rebranding itself as a poverty fighter but, as Oxfam notes: coal companies make heavy indirect contributions to climate change and the floods, drought, cyclones and changes to food patterns it brings. They also contribute directly through air pollution problems and displacement of communities as coal mines force them off their land, leaving them with poor access to food and water and struggling to make a living. Simply put, coal companies have no moral argument for poverty alleviation.

::: more @ The Tree :::






We know what politicians from the U.S. to Israel think about the Iran nuclear deal. How about asking some opponents of Iran’s regime?


The rebels in Greece are waging a patient guerrilla war against financial occupation.

How to make Americans accept that their country was built and sustained on white supremacist plunder? Write like Ta-Nehisi Coates.


How can we turn up the heat on Washington?


A collective in Saugerties, New York, is trying to live by the teachings of 19th century Russian anarchist Pyotr Kropotkin.
For the past two years, the Crown Heights Tenant Union of Brooklyn has used collective bargaining strategies to win victories around rent control and tenant protection laws.


Before homes are even rebuilt in the ruins of the Gaza Strip, another war looms.


Thanks to relentless student pressure, more than a year of rallies, protests and sit-ins proved too much to ignore.


Corporate tax loopholes have been very effective at draining at least a billion dollars a year out of public funds and redirecting them into idle private profits.


Underneath the Laughs, ‘Trainwreck’ Is Just Another Regressive Rom Com

For all its wit and unabashed vulgarity, Amy Schumer’s film follows a tired formula.


Trump is not the only presidential hopeful willing to make utterly mind-boggling statements.


Did ICE Violate Its Own Deportation Guidelinesin Arresting Chicago-Area Unionized Meatpackers?

ICE apprehended immigrant workers after they went on strike, even though the agency has rules against interfering in workplaces that are in the midst of labor disputes.



Conflict between New Englanders and the region’s indigenous inhabitants runs deep into history.


“To move beyond the fossil fuel era is a matter of conscience, a matter of faith and indeed, a matter of our continued existence.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Irving K. Barber Learning Centre Lecture presented by the Vancouver Institute. Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Naomi Klein is the author of the critically acclaimed #1 international bestsellers, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies which have each been translated into more than 30 languages. She is a contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine, a reporter for Rolling Stone, and a syndicated columnist for The Nation and The Guardian.
Naomi Klein is a member of the board of directors for, a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Her new book is This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (September, 2014). This lecture is co-sponsored by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Green College.



Elaine Chambers, a proud Kuku Yalangi/Koa Aboriginal woman from Brisbane, is this year’s winner of the prestigious National NAIDOC Poster Competition. Artists entering the competition were asked to submit an artwork which represented their interpretation of this year’s NAIDOC theme – We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate.

Ms Chambers’ artwork features four sets of feet standing on sacred ground. The most prominent set of feet are that of her father, Charlie Chambers Snr, who Ms Chambers says “hands down information to us about the sacred grounds we stand on”.

National NAIDOC Committee Co-Chair, Anne Martin, said “to me the depiction of the feet represents our families and communities standing together, strong and united on Country”.

Co-Chairs Anne Martin and Benjamin Mitchell congratulate Ms Chambers on her winning entry and thank all the talented artists who submitted their artwork in this year’s competition. “We really appreciate the work that the artists have put into their pieces.” Mr Mitchell said.

What is NAIDOC Week?

NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

What does NAIDOC stand for?

NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.

What is the history of NAIDOC Week?

Download and print the NAIDOC History Timeline (PDF version).

::: more @ :::


Current issue: July 2015

Greece and the EU, what next? Russia re-enters the Balkans; Ukraine, inflating old fears of Russia doesn’t help; Mali, rebuilding a nation;South Africa, betrayal of a dream; radical Islam,Christianity of the poor; football, who pays for top clubs? the new Panama scandal; hooked on the Net…:

::: simply click cover to access :::

Sobriety, not austerity — Philippe Descamps

The UN’s Paris climate change conference in November doesn’t hold out much promise. Since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, fossil fuel consumption has gone on growing. The Green Climate Fund launched by the UN in 2011 has attracted only €10bn to date. In 2013 subsidies for fuels responsible for greenhouse gases totalled €400bn worldwide — four times the amount allocated to renewable energy sources.

Any international agreement will fail to keep global warming within 2ºC if governments insist on (…)

Translated by Charles Goulden

Paul Ehrlich and others use highly conservative estimates to prove that species are disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs’ demise.

Video by Rob Jordan


Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich calls for fast action to conserve threatened species, populations and habitat before the window of opportunity closes.

There is no longer any doubt: We are entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity’s existence.

That is the bad news at the center of a newstudy by a group of scientists including Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at theStanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Ehrlich and his co-authors call for fast action to conserve threatened species, populations and habitat, but warn that the window of opportunity is rapidly closing…

::: click on through to Stanford Report for piece in full :::



excerpt from The Tree:

Two reports have undermined the Abbott Government’s rosy claims about the health of Australia’s World Heritage Great Barrier Reef. TheQueensland Auditor-General has released a scathing report on government efforts to improve the reef’s water quality, finding efforts to cut coral-killing runoff have been ineffective, and that information lacked transparency and misleading. A second report, by the Environmental Justice Australia and the US-based Earthjustice, has also found that the Reef’s current state meets as many as six of the eight criteria UNESCO uses in its “in danger” assessments. UNESCO only needs one for an “in danger” listing. Water quality and sediment issues are having a severe impact on the reef, but despite having knowledge of a report contradicting the government’s exaggerated claims of progress tackling these issues for several weeks, Environment Minister Greg Hunt pushed a misleading “report card” to UNESCO.

This move, part of a $218,000 lobbying effort detailed in documents obtained under FOI, resulted in a draft ruling not to list the natural icon as “in danger”, allowing massive coal projects to go ahead –assuming they don’t fall over economically first. The Federal government’s lobbying strategy may have avoided a negative listing for now, but UNESCO’s verdict was still not positive. The future of the reef and the $5 billion it contributes to the economy annually remains under serious threat if Australia keeps trying to export dirty coal to the world. Tourism operators are already being warned to stop using picturesque underwater photos of bright pink and yellow coral, as the reality is declining water quality is now so poor in places tourists cannot swim or snorkel…


Jeremy Buckingham, NSW Greens Member of Parliament


“…Climate change has become the premier environmental issue facing the globe. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions continue to grow and accumulate in the atmosphere. The average global temperature in 2014 was the highest recorded over the last century and a half. Most scientists say that climate change is a “very serious problem.” Yet virtually no progress has been made in convincing the general public of its serious nature, nor have significant steps been taken to curb emissions and slow warming. Why has progress been so halting?

The risks of a warming world and potential policies to deal with these risks are the subject of a short book by Gernot Wagner and Martin Weitzman…”

(click cover pic for piece in full + gratis @ The New York Review of Books) 

Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet

by Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman
Princeton University Press, 250 pp., $27.95


Adrian Burragubba,
on behalf of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council
for the Wangan and Jagalingou people :

When we rejected Indian mining company Adani’s offer to exploit our land, they took aggressive legal action to overrule our rights just six days later. Now we have to fight to protect our land in court.

They have betrayed our trust and are getting set to destroy our land and our culture. You’ve pledged your support, but now I’m going to have to ask you, if you can, to help me again.

We face losing everything that is our inheritance. But to mount this fight to protect our heritage, we need more than our conviction and courage. We urgently need funds to mount a legal challenge and appeal against Adani’s action. Can you please make a donation so we can fight Adani in court?

Adani is trying everything, and from the beginning have shown their arrogant, disrespectful treatment of our law and customs. They have misrepresented us, and they have betrayed us. They took action to remove our rights through a legal system designed to favour big mining over the rights of Indigenous peoples. It seems they’ll stop at nothing to get their mine, which will destroy our ancestral land and the underpinnings of our lore and culture.

If we can raise enough money, we will appeal the National Native Title Tribunal’s decision to allow the Queensland Government to issue mining leases to Adani, despite our refusal to enter an agreement with the company. The Tribunal even recognised that we have not given our consent or agreement to the mine, but still overruled our internationally recognised rights in favour of Adani.

The Tribunal has sanctioned the destruction of our ancestral lands and cultural heritage on the grounds that it’s in the ‘public interest’. We will contest the idea that building one of the world’s largest coal mines is good for the people and the country.

Our right to self-determination and free, prior, and informed consent is being trampled.

We have to fight back, but we can only do it with the help of our supporters. Can you please get behind us to fight for our rights and our land in court by donating to our fighting fund?

The truth is we’re up against a multi-billion dollar company and a legal system that makes it very tough for traditional owners. We know we’ve got a strong, righteous case to run, but we’re not going to leave it at that.

We’ll continue to fight for our rights through the courts, and look to international law if need be. We will visit investment banks around the world to stop the project getting funding. And if it comes to it, we will take our fight all the way to the United Nations.

This fight will define our people and be a landmark moment for Indigenous rights and climate change in Australia. Can you help us defeat Adani by donating to our fighting fund?

Adani think they can walk all over us but they’ve never seen anything like this. Our lands and our way of life, and the legacy of our ancestors, mean too much to our people to rollover. We are here to fight and we won’t stop until our land is protected.

PS – After I first wrote to you and others, Wangan and Jagalingou people were overwhelmed by the response. To know that more than 90,000 people have chosen to stand with us as we fight to protect our land and our culture from Adani has given us real strength and confidence. On behalf of Wangan and Jagalingou people who are opposed to this mine, we sincerely thank you.

See also earlier interpretOr piece: Great Barrier Reef threat – Government of India report contains clear evidence that (Abbot Point) developer Adani Enterprises “violated environmental norms” at Mundra Port (India)


The Arctic is the “canary in the coal mine” of global warming. Over the past 50 years Arctic winters have gotten a whole lot warmer,rising in temperature by an average of 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit. With the region warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, changes in the Arctic are providing a preview of what is to come if climate change is not stopped. The picture is not pretty: the Arctic is suffering increasing coastal erosion, more acidic oceans, earlier spring snowmelt, drier landscapes, and more extensive wildfires. Significant habitat changes are also pushing many species—including the iconic polar bear—to the very brink of extinction.

The United States is taking over chairmanship of the Arctic Council at a challenging and critical time. Thanks to melting sea ice caused by climate change, the Arctic is opening up. This means that Arctic nations could soon begin sparring over new shipping routes and access to remote oil and gas deposits. At the same time, the region is being hit hard. Climate change is directly impacting the Arctic ecosystem. Rising sea levels are upending coastal settlements, while gas flaring is coating sea ice in a nasty layer of black carbon that speeds the melting  causing over a million premature deaths each year from respiratory and heart disease.

If the United States wants to protect the Arctic from climate change, it can’t allow any more oil and gas drilling in the region. The Obama Administration has a unique ability to use its chairmanship of the Arctic Council to chart a new course for climate leadership in the region. According to a peer-reviewed study recently published in Nature, the world must choose between drilling for Arctic oil and maintaining a safe, liveable climate. Showing leadership on climate means cutting carbon emissions—not greenlighting oil companies’ risky plans to place new drilling rigs in the Arctic Circle.




Momentum continues to build for the next UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Paris this December, with nations realising the huge benefits of climate action and getting on with the job of developing their national emissions reduction plans for the negotiations. These action plans – known as “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs) – marry national goals reflecting individual circumstances and ambitions with a UN framework to keep average global warming below the internationally agreed 2DegC red line.

So far, Switzerland, the European Union, Norway, and Mexico have all submitted plans, but Australia has further cemented its reputation as a coal-obsessed wrecker by not only ignoring the deadline, but dragging its feet and only now calling for public submissions on what it should do. Its discussion paper ignores the 2DegC red line, it attempts to cook the books (again) by describing its current target as “equivalent to a reduction of 13 per cent below 2005 levels” instead of referring to its inadequate five percent below 1990 levels commitment. It also totally ignores the “5-25 per cent range” ittrumpeted in early 2010.

While the rest of the world moves forward, Australia’s climate change policy is “on course for ‘disastrous’ 4DegC warming” as it allows polluters to increase emissions as much as they like without penalty. While railing against the age of entitlement, the Abbott government is looking for special treatment to keep burning and selling coal. It claims it is determined to reduce emissions “without destroying jobs”, but its actions demonstrate that it does not understand the health, employment, environmental and economic benefits that come with cleaning up its economy. The Government has been captured by a dying coal industry, is fighting the future for it, and dooming Australia to climate pariah status on the world stage for its dim prospects.

Related Tree Alerts


  • MT @Mattias_S: #Australia – when can we expect your #climate contributions, #INDC , You’re already behind #Mexico – Is that leadership?
  • MT @MattGrudnoff: PM ‘Australia open for business’. Unless you’re an industry the govt is ideologically opposed to #auspol #climate
  • MT @fionamcrobie: Submissions on Australia’s post-2020 emissions reduction target can be made here: #auspol #climate



Synthesis Report (2014) – IPCC

The Synthesis Report distils and integrates the findings of the three working group contributions to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Fifth Assessment Report — the most comprehensive assessment of climate change yet undertaken, produced by hundreds of scientists — as well as the two Special Reports produced during this cycle.

Summary for Policymakers
SPM + Longer Report
Headline Statements
Quick link to report PDFs








The explosion of energy in grassroots movements and popular disgust with politics as usual make this the perfecttime for a run outside the Democratic Party.


The two movements are more connected than you think.


Why Cuba, Why Now?

The 5 likeliest reasons behind Obama’s surprise move to reverse a 53-year-old policy.


New York environmental activists have finally chalked up a victory against hydraulic fracturing.


We need a truth and reconciliation commission to deal with our torture problem.


Many on the Left say yes, but voices we rarely hear–Kurds and members of the Syrian opposition–are less convinced that U.S. intervention is a bad thing.


Despite the obsession with crappy remakes and computerized images of blowing shit up, the year featured some challenging, meaningful films.


Momentum is growing for a bill to finally help heal the wounds of years of torture of black men by the Chicago Police Department.


Treasury Secretary Jack Lew can’t wrap his head around the fact that he’s really, really wealthy.


By posing the choice between a coworker’s job and 1,000 Euros, Two Days, One Night explores the state of worker solidarity.



Even With a GOP Congress, Obama Could Still Defend American Workers. Here’s How.

President Obama isn’t hamstrung in his ability to advocate for workers–if he chooses to stand up and fight.



As Australia picked up its shameful fourth Fossil of the Day award at the Lima climate talks Thursday (11/12/14), Climate Action Tracker (CAT) released a new analysis showing that creative accounting and years of diplomatic manoeuvring are allowing Australia to increase emissions while still meeting its minimum five per cent reduction commitment. CAT says in real terms Australia’s emissions are likely to be 26 per cent above 2000 levels by 2020, and a huge 47-59 per cent above its original Kyoto pledge.

Yet while its actual emissions are soaring, Australia can still meet its already lax commitments with barely any action thanks to being selective on baseline emission sources, and its creative approach to accounting for land use change and forestry. Australia has now taken to making threats if it is not allowed to use these favourable rules, which would allow it to emit a further six per cent more carbon on top of its already worst-in-show per capita emissions.

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