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Climate wars threaten billions

Robin McKie, The Observer
More than 100 countries face political chaos and mass migration in global warming catastrophe
A total of 46 nations and 2.7 billion people are now at high risk of being overwhelmed by armed conflict and war because of climate change. A further 56 countries face political destabilisation, affecting another 1.2 billion individuals.

This stark warning will be outlined by the peace group International Alert in a report, A Climate of Conflict, this week. Much of Africa, Asia and South America will suffer outbreaks of war and social disruption as climate change erodes land, raises seas, melts glaciers and increases storms, it concludes. Even Europe is at risk.

‘Climate change will compound the propensity for violent conflict, which in turn will leave communities poorer and less able to cope with the consequences of climate change,’ the report states.

The worst threats involve nations lacking resources and stability to deal with global warming, added the agency’s secretary-general, Dan Smith. ‘Holland will be affected by rising sea levels, but no one expects war or strife,’ he told The Observer. ‘It has the resources and political structure to act effectively. But other countries that suffer loss of land and water and be buffeted by increasingly fierce storms will have no effective government to ensure corrective measures are taken. People will form defensive groups and battles will break out.’
(4 November 2007)

Think tank: Climate affects security

Arthur Max, Associated Press
Climate change could be one of the greatest national security challenges ever faced by U.S. policy makers, according to a new joint study by two U.S. think tanks.

The report, to be released Monday, raises the threat of dramatic population migrations, wars over water and resources, and a realignment of power among nations.

During the last two decades, climate scientists have underestimated how quickly the Earth is changing – perhaps to avoid being branded as “alarmists,” the study said. But policy planners should count on climate-induced instability in critical parts of the world within 30 years.
(3 November 2007)

Climate change: we have the power

Bryan Appleyard, UK Times
There are pale greens and dark greens. Often they don’t see eye to eye. But there is no shortage of technologies to tackle global warming. We listen to the visionaries of change

Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish chemist, suggested in 1936 that carbon dioxide from burning coal could create an atmospheric greenhouse effect and warm the planet. In 1979 the American National Academy of Sciences warned that a wait-and-see policy on global warming “may mean waiting until it is too late”. In 1988 delegates from 46 countries to a Changing Atmosphere conference in Toronto called for a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2005. In February 2005, the Kyoto Protocol established an international binding agreement to cut carbon-dioxide emissions. In October 2007, I can now reveal the net outcome of all this science. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. CO2 emissions, now approaching 30 billion tonnes a year, have continued to rise inexorably.

“In spite of all the rhetoric,” says Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum and one of the world’s leading climate scientists, “we sit perfectly on or just above the business-as-usual curve.”

Green Europe is actually doing worse than the sceptical United States. European emissions continue to rise while, last year, American emissions fell by 1.6%. In fairness, this may be because America has outsourced much of its manufacturing to China, so the US’s net effect on global emissions will probably still be negative. And, of course, India and China are both on rapid growth curves – economically and politically – and won’t take lectures from western greens. So even if we switched to windmills and electric cars tomorrow, total emissions would be unlikely to fall.

So here’s the big picture.
(4 November 2007)

NY Times environmental reporter Revkin now a-blog

Andrew C. Revkin, Dot Earth (New York Times)
About Dot Earth

By 2050 or so, the world population is expected to reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today. Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life. In Dot Earth, reporter Andrew C. Revkin examines efforts to balance human affairs with the planet’s limits. Supported in part by a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Mr. Revkin tracks relevant news from suburbia to Siberia, and conducts an interactive exploration of trends and ideas with readers and experts.
(2 November 2007)

NBC’s rainbow turning green

Original: At NBC, the Brand Becomes a Slogan
Brian Stelter, New York Times
As a color and a concept, green will be unavoidable across NBC Universal’s media properties this week, as network logos turn green, on-screen graphics offer tips for reducing carbon emissions and television episodes emphasize environmentally friendly plot lines.

Summarizing the cross-platform campaign is a slogan that manages to incorporate the company’s name: “Green is Universal.” The corporate undertones may leave consumers wondering whether the programming is merely a public relations ploy. Lauren Zalaznick, the president of Bravo Media, asserted that it was not.

“For a very cynical world, this is a very earnest effort,” said Ms. Zalaznick, who heads the NBC Universal Green Council. “We have to leave our world more sustainable than it is right now. If we can use our power as media to do that, and take a whole lot of consumers along for the ride, why wouldn’t we?”

The council and the weeklong campaign stemmed from a companywide program, announced in May, to reduce greenhouse gases and increase interest in environmental issues.