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Tim Flannery: we have to stop our emissions
Andi Hazelwood, Global Public Media
Tim Flannery, one of Australia’s top scientists and author of The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change talks to Andi Hazelwood of Global Public Media about his suggested mitigations for climate change on the heels of the alarming new report from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Flannery also discusses Australia’s drought and food crises, relocalization and Bjorn Lomborg’s skeptical new book on global warming.

Dr. Tim Flannery is an internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist and one of Australia’s most respected thinkers and writers. Named the 2007 Australian of the Year for his work on climate change, Dr. Flannery is author of many books including The Weather Makers, Future Eaters and The Eternal Frontier. Formerly professor of Australian studies at Harvard University and director of the South Australian Museum, Dr. Flannery is currently a director of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, the National Geographic Society’s representative in Australasia and a professor at Macquarie University in Sydney.
(4 October 2007)

A Swiftly Melting Planet

Thomas Homer-Dixon, New York Times
THE Arctic ice cap melted this summer at a shocking pace, disappearing at a far higher rate than predicted by even the most pessimistic experts in global warming. But we shouldn’t be shocked, because scientists have long known that major features of earth’s interlinked climate system of air and water can change abruptly.

A big reason such change happens is feedback – not the feedback that you’d like to give your boss, but the feedback that creates a vicious circle. This type of feedback in our global climate could determine humankind’s future prosperity and even survival.

…When warming becomes its own cause, we might not be able to stop extremely harmful climate change no matter how much we cut our greenhouse gas emissions. We need a far more aggressive global response to climate change. In the 1960s, mothers learned that the milk they were feeding their children was laced with radioactive material from atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons and that this contamination could increase the risk of childhood leukemia. Soon women organized themselves in the tens of thousands to demand that nuclear powers ban atmospheric testing. Their campaign largely succeeded.

In response to the new dangers of climate change, we need a similar mobilization – of mothers, of students and of everyone with a stake in the future – now.

Thomas Homer-Dixon, a professor of peace and conflict studies at the University of Toronto, is the author of “The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization.”
(4 October 2007)

Climate Activists Tipped For Peace Prize

John Acher, Reuters
OSLO – Former Vice President Al Gore and other campaigners against climate change lead experts’ choices for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, an award once reserved for statesmen, peacemakers and human rights activists.1005 06

If a campaigner against global warming carries off the high world accolade later this month, it will accentuate a shift to reward work outside traditional peacekeeping and reinforce the link between peace and the environment.
(5 October 2007)
Also at Common Dreams.

Climate change disaster is upon us, warns UN

Julian Borger, The Guardian
A record number of floods, droughts and storms around the world this year amount to a climate change “mega disaster”, the United Nation’s emergency relief coordinator, Sir John Holmes, has warned.

Sir John, a British diplomat who is also known as the UN’s under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said dire predictions about the impact of global warming on humanity were already coming true.

“We are seeing the effects of climate change. Any year can be a freak but the pattern looks pretty clear to be honest. That’s why we’re trying … to say, of course you’ve got to deal with mitigation of emissions, but this is here and now, this is with us already,” he said.

As a measure of the worsening situation, Ocha, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – part of the UN secretariat that employs Sir John – has issued 13 emergency “flash” appeals so far this year. The number is three more than in 2005, which held the previous record.
(5 October 2007)

Official says US will regulate carbon

Arthur Max, Associated Press
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – The United States is moving toward the regulation of carbon emissions, a U.S. energy official said Thursday, despite the Bush administration’s adherence to a voluntary approach to controlling the primary gas blamed for climate change.

“There will be carbon regulation of some sort,” said Dan Arvizu, director of the National Renewable Energy Lab of the Department of Energy, told an international conference on biofuels.

He spoke a week after briefing President Bush’s global warming conference of major carbon-emitting nations.

“I am neutral as to which kind of carbon management regulation there will be. It is very clear to me that there will be carbon management, whether it will be a direct tax, carbon cap-and-trade or some other instrument,” Arvizu said.

Arvizu did not say he was speaking for the Bush administration. But some of his listeners thought it was significant that he spoke after the Washington meeting, which brought together the United States, leading industrial nations that have embraced stringent mandatory controls, and developing countries that are totally unregulated, including China.
(4 October 2007)

Indonesia aims to plant 79 million trees

Zakki Hakim, Associated Press
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia, which is losing its forests faster than any other country, hopes to plant 79 million trees in a single day ahead of a major U.N. climate change meeting this year, a forestry ministry spokesman said Friday.

The trees, mostly eucalyptus and teak, will be planted across the world’s fourth-largest nation on Nov. 28, said the spokesman Masyhud, who uses one name.

“We aim to get Indonesia greener as soon as we can and reduce forest degradation as much as possible,” he said.

A Greenpeace forest activist, Hapsoro, said the planting of trees was admirable, but was almost pointless in the face of Indonesia’s rapid deforestation.
(5 October 2007)