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Resilience Roundup - Oct 23

 

A roundup of news, views and ideas from the main stream press and the blogosphere.  Click on the headline link to see the full article.


The Economic Cost Of Climate Change

Natasha Geiling, Think Climate
The warmer it gets, the less productive a country’s economy will likely be — those are the results of a new economic and science study published yesterday in Nature.

The study, conducted by researchers at Stanford and UC Berkeley, examined fifty years of historical data to see if there was a relationship between temperature and economic performance. Looking at 166 countries — and taking out changes due to differences in countries (like geographic location or starting wealth) — the researchers analyzed whether a country’s economic performance increased or decreased as temperatures rose or fell.


What Your New Liberal Majority Government Means for Climate, Environment, Science and Transparency

Carol Linnitt, DeSmogBlog
...We have a new majority government. Before the fun gets away with us, let’s do a quick reality check for what the Liberal Party and incoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have been promising all y’all on some of our top DeSmog Canada topics: climate, environment, science and transparency...

On the issue of Canada’s climate commitments for the UN climate summit this fall in Paris, the Liberal platform is underdeveloped. On the campaign trail last week party leader Justin Trudeau told the CBC he would not commit to specific emissions targets...

The Liberal party has taken a strong stance on the war on science in Canada, promising to free scientists to speak publicly about their work...


Death by Fracking

Chris Hedges, Truthdig
The maniacal drive by the human species to extinguish itself includes a variety of lethal pursuits. One of the most efficient is fracking. One day, courtesy of corporations such as Halliburton, BP and ExxonMobil, a gallon of water will cost more than a gallon of gasoline. Fracking, which involves putting chemicals into potable water and then injecting millions of gallons of the solution into the earth at high pressure to extract oil and gas, has become one of the primary engines, along with the animal agriculture industry, for accelerating global warming and climate change.

The Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers who are profiting from this cycle of destruction will—once clean water is scarce and crop yields decline, once temperatures soar and cities disappear under the sea, once droughts and famines ripple across the globe, once mass migrations begin—surely profit from the next round of destruction. Collective suicide is a good business, at least until it is complete. It is a pity most of us will not be around to see the power elite go down...


IEA report on benefits of coal is 'deeply misleading'

Damian Carrington, The Guardian
A coal industry report due to be published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on the benefits of new coal-burning technology has been heavily criticised by experts.

The report, seen by the Guardian, is “deeply confused and deeply misleading” and a “litany of errors and false assumptions, clearly written ultimately as a disinformation tool”, according to two financial experts. They said the legitimacy conferred by the respected IEA on the report raised serious questions.

The report, the Socioeconomic Impacts of Advanced Technology Coal-Fuelled Power Stations, was produced by the IEA’s Coal Industry Advisory Board (CIAB), a group of coal industry executives that “provides advice to the IEA”...


Oil majors climate declaration avoids targets, carbon pricing

Megan Darby, RTCC
Saudi Aramco, Shell, Total and seven other companies voice support for 2C warming limit, but lack concrete plans...


U.S. oil output slide looms as shale firms hit productivity wall

Anna Driver and Terry Wade, Reuters
Stagnating rig productivity shows U.S. shale oil producers are running out of tricks to pump more with less in the face of crashing prices and points to a slide in output that should help rebalance global markets.

Over the 16 months of the crude price rout, production from new wells drilled by each rig has risen about 30 percent as companies refined their techniques, idled slower rigs and shifted crews and high-speed rigs to "sweet spots" with the most oil...


Big energy inflates future fossil fuel demand

Tyler Hamilton, The Toronto Star
G7 countries have pledged to phase out fossil fuel use by the end of the century, but you’d never know it based on long-term demand forecasts from the major oil, gas and coal companies.

That should serve as a red flag for investors and world leaders as they prepare to attend an historic climate summit in December, according to a report released today by the London-based Carbon Tracker Initiative.

“Why should investors accept their claims about future coal and oil demand when they clearly don’t stack up with technology and policy developments?” said report co-author James Leaton, head of research at Carbon Tracker.

Comparing industry projections to the G7 goal, “it seems like they’re heading in opposite directions,” Leaton added...

Link to Carbon Tracker Report: Fossil fuel sector in denial over demand destruction


Pulp Fiction: The European Accounting Error That's Warming the Planet

John Upton, Climate Central
As the world tries to shift away from fossil fuels, the energy industry is turning to what seems to be an endless supply of renewable energy: wood. In England and across Europe, wood has become the renewable of choice, with forests — many of them in the U.S. — being razed to help feed surging demand. But as this five-month Climate Central investigation reveals, renewable energy doesn’t necessarily mean clean energy. Burning trees as fuel in power plants is heating the atmosphere more quickly than coal.

Climate Central reporter John Upton traveled to England and through the U.S. Southeast to investigate both ends of the global trade in wood pellets, interviewing scientists, politicians, policy makers, activists, workers and industry leaders. Europe has long been viewed as the wellspring of climate action. But the loophole that’s promoting wood burning is so overlooked, he discovered, that it’s unlikely to even be raised during global climate treaty negotiations in Paris this December...


Coal Trumps Solar in India

Gayathri Vaidyanathan and ClimateWire , ClimateWire
One year ago, environmentalists hailed this tiny village as the future of clean energy in rural India. Today, it is powered by coal.

Dharnai, a community of about 3,200 people in eastern India’s Bihar state, had been without electricity for three decades. So when activists with Greenpeace set up a solar-powered microgrid in July of 2014, the excitement was palpable. But, residents said, the problems started almost immediately.

When the former chief minister of Bihar state visited to inaugurate the grid, villagers lined up to protest, chanting, “We want real electricity, not fake electricity!”...

For a different view see Solar Panels and Solidarity


Russia Is Wrapping the Arctic in a Loving, Militarized Embrace

John Dyer, Vice News
Russia has upped the ante in the high-stakes competition for domination of the Arctic, announcing recently that crews would soon complete construction of a new military base on an icy island near the North Pole.

"This is the only object in the world being constructed at the 80th parallel north," said the Russian Ministry of Defense in a statement on Tuesday.

The base — a permanent compound of 150,000 square feet called the "Arctic Trefoil" that can accommodate 150 troops — is the latest sign of Russia's intent to play a long game in the region.

Arctic oil and other industries already generate around 20 percent of Russian gross domestic product, according to Heather Conley, a senior fellow and director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. As formerly impassable Arctic ice melts courtesy of climate change, the expanse is likely to yield access to more oil and other resources that could someday be the root of conflicts between nations struggling to fuel their economies, making it a focus of strategic jockeying by countries like Russia and Canada...


Carbon nanotubes found in children’s lungs for the first time

Sam Wong, New Scientist
Carbon nanotubes have turned up in the lungs of children living in Paris – the first time they have been detected in humans.

Incredibly strong, light and conductive, nanotubes have shown great potential in areas such as computing, clothing and healthcare technology. Nevertheless, there has been some concern over their use after mouse studies showed that injected nanotubes can cause immune reactions similar to those produced by asbestos...


Part of Resurgent Detroit’s Transportation Retrofit: More Bicycle Infrastructure

Gregor MacDonald, Route Fifty
In the Motor City, an incremental but organic buildout of bikeways is as good a transportation solution as any. It's cost effective, too.

This autumn’s Tour de Troit, an annual fundraiser for the Motor City’s emerging array of bicycle infrastructure, saw more than 7,000 riders take to the streets under a dark and windy sky.

This was another impressive showcase event demonstrating how bicycle culture has taken root and flourished in what’s long been an auto- centric city...


Why some young American farmers want their student loans forgiven

Jillian Berman, Marketwatch
Are the farmers who grow the nation’s food public servants? Not according to the government — but some advocates and bipartisan legislators are trying to change that, pushing a proposal to add farming to the list of public service fields entitled to student debt forgiveness.

The effort is an indication that the student debt crisis has fueled concerns about the future of one of the country’s oldest professions and, perhaps, even endangered the food supply.

Advocates say that debt may be keeping young Americans from starting farms, buying land, or even considering farming to begin with, perhaps meaning there won’t be enough farmers to take over when the current generation retires...


Why too much choice is stressing us out

Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian
Once upon a time in Springfield, the Simpson family visited a new supermarket. Monstromart’s slogan was “where shopping is a baffling ordeal”. Product choice was unlimited, shelving reached the ceiling, nutmeg came in 12lb boxes and the express checkout had a sign reading, “1,000 items or less”. In the end the Simpsons returned to Apu’s Kwik-E-Mart.

In doing so, the Simpsons were making a choice to reduce their choice. It wasn’t quite a rational choice, but it made sense. In the parlance of economic theory, they were not rational utility maximisers but, in Herbert Simon’s term, “satisficers” – opting for what was good enough, rather than becoming confused to the point of inertia in front of Monstromart’s ranges of products...

News clippings image via shutterstock. Reproduced at Resilience.org with permission.

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