HOME- The Movie
Yann Arthus-Bertrand, celebrated French journalist, photographer and environmentalist, has created an extraordinarily beautiful film of our home planet, and the impacts our species has made upon it's life systems. The photography is gorgeous, with excellent narration and a beautiful music score. The film, produced by Luc Bresson, premieres on the internet June 5. Watch in high quality full screen mode at YouTube.
To see more on the production of "Home", along with multilingual versions:
On April 29, Copenhagen's mermaid was cut loose and loaded into the back of a truck, to be shipped to China for the Danish pavilion at the Shanghai Expo.(story)
COP15 Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009
Copenhagen- What happened? Well, The G77 developing countries staged a walkout accusing rich countries of blocking legally binding emissions reductions. US-led wealthy countries wanted close "monitoring and verification" of both progress toward emissions targets and the use of funds transferred from the rich countries to the developing nations to help them cope with climate change and to leapfrog to green energy production. There were other issues, and in the end, a face-saving US proposed initiative called the 'Copenhagen Accord' formed the centre-piece of a "deal" which was not binding in any way, and which many countries objected to.
The co-signatories to the accord agreed to "take note" of the need to keep global warming to 2 degrees centigrade or less. Some scientists consider this already a dangerous level which would see a sea-level rise of six meters(SMH: Two degrees to disaster).
Update Feb 22 2010: UN Climate Chief Yvo de Boer said he will step down July 1. In an AP interview last month, de Boer acknowledged that the summit left him deeply disheartened. "After Copenhagen I was very depressed. I was depressed for a few weeks." (story)
Note that just before the Copenhagen conference, Professor Corinne Le Quere, lead scientist and lead author on a study for Global Carbon Project just published in the journal Nature Geoscience told BBC News: "Based on our knowledge of recent trends and the time it takes to change energy infrastructure, I think that the Copenhagen conference next month is our last chance to stabilize at 2C in a smooth and organized way. . .
If the agreement is too weak or if the commitments are not respected, it's not two and a half or three degrees that we will get, it's five or six - that's the path that we are on right now."
Friends of the Earth said "Corporate polluters and other special interests have such overwhelming influence that rich country governments are willing to agree only to fig leaf solutions." (more climate activists' comments)
Christopher Flavin, President of Worldwatch Institute said, "Both in its ambition and in the weakness of its framework- an accord rather than a legally binding protocol- Copenhagen represented a significant step backward from the climate treaty process that began in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and was strengthened with the Kyoto Protocol which came into force earlier this decade. And because the accord was crafted by a handful of new and old economic powers, many saw it as a breakdown of the U.N. process and its need for consensus among 193 nations. . ." (Escape From Copenhagen- Final)
Joss Garman of Greenpeace blogged: "This 'deal' is beyond bad. It contains no legally binding targets and no indication of when or how they will come about. There is not even a declaration that the world will aim to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees C. Instead, leaders merely recognize the science behind that vital threshold, as if that were enough to prevent us crossing it. . ." (Historic Failure That Will Live in Infamy)
James Hansen, the world's leading climate scientist: summit failure may be better for the planet- (watch interview)
See Grist's review of world press reaction to the Copenhagen Conference: All Over The Map
"The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. .." Greenpeace famously blogged. But actually , world leaders were fleeing for the airports ahead of snowstorms on both sides of the north atlantic at once; Obama arrived in DC as the blizzard began there, in Europe a record cold wave accompanied the snow, at one point all the airports were down and 5 Eurostar trains were stuck in the Chunnel. Waves of record cold and snow are hitting China too, with temperatures hitting the minus twenties fahrenheit.
More on the extreme winter cold 2009-2010 on the climate chaos page
Copenhagen Conference 2009 on Climate Change- highlights
You can jump around as you choose in the playlist; if you just let it run, it will play each clip consecutively. If the clip stops to rebuffer a lot, just pause the video and let it buffer up ahead. (To watch videos in full screen mode: click the video currently playing; this will launch a new window with the same video at Youtube. Just below the logo on the lower right is a full screen button.)
Climate Change and Copenhagen Dec. 2009
Perhaps you saw ABC's "Earth 2100" show this last summer. It traces the growing climate disaster from 2009 to the end of the century, assuming we stay on the present course. At the end of this dark vision, the narrator returns to say, "But it doesn't have to be like this" and we rewind the clock to the critical moment where we could have followed a different path, one leading to a far brighter future. That critical juncture was the Copenhagen Conference of December, 2009. Two months from now. Copenhagen is the next stage of the Kyoto Protocol of 1998, and is possibly our last chance to make some serious headway.
Things look generally more promising than they did in 2007; we have a new administration in the US which wants to tackle the problem- indeed would even like to take the lead- and with the largest carbon emitter coming around, other big players, like China, India, and Brazil seem more willing to join in serious effort. However, warnings abound that governments are still stymied by actors overly subject to short-term thinking and localized influences and unable to grasp, or at least deal effectively with, this slow moving planetary emergency.
Something else has changed though, since the last Climate Conference in 2007. We have learned that due to the triggering of the feedback loops discussed in these pages, we are in fact already heading more rapidly than imagined just two years ago toward a worst-case-scenario.
Figures in the Obama administration seem intent on downplaying hopes for a treaty in Copenhagen. They are also downplaying the possibility of climate change legislation passing the US Congress "this year".
Let's hope we can do better than that. Below are resources and updates concerning climate change and the Copenhagen conference. You might consider taking a moment to call, write, or email your national leaders and urge them to be courageous and take the decisive steps necessary for our future. (see the Congressional Directory to find your representatives' contact info)
Greenland's glaciers contain a volume of water equivalent to the entire Gulf of Mexico. If it all melted, sea levels would rise over 20 feet. The Antarctic ice pack contains ten times as much, and melted, would raise ocean levels by over 200 feet.
UNEP: Impacts of Climate Change Coming Faster and Sooner New Science Report Underlines Urgency for Governments
to Seal the Deal in Copenhagen
"Washington/Nairobi, 24 September 2009 -The pace and scale of climate change may now be outstripping even the most sobering predictions of the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC)"
Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 report and related videos:
(view and download here)
(UNEP: about the report)
Warming Arctic's global impacts outstrip predictions
"The Arctic Climate Feedbacks: Global Implications Report outlines dire global consequences of a warming Arctic that are far worse than previous projections. The unprecedented peer-reviewed report by top climate scientists shows that numerous arctic climate feedbacks- negative effects prompted by the impacts of warming- will make global climate change more severe than indicated by other recent projections, including those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes 2007 assessment." (story) Dr Martin Sommerkorn discusses the urgent issues raised in the report- (video) /
(Report PDF) / (Executive Summary PDF)
UK PM Gordon Brown warns of climate 'catastrophe' if Copenhagen failure
Oct 19: 'Negotiators have less than 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the "impasse"'. (report)
UK Met Office warns of catastrophic climate change in our lifetimes
Dr Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre calls it a a 'plausible worst case scenario' (audio)(PPT here).
Expect big jump in temperatures, U.N. warns
Earth's temperature is likely to jump six degrees between now and the end of the century even if every country cuts greenhouse gas emissions as proposed, according to a United Nations update. (story)
World's ocean temps warmest recorded July was the hottest the world's oceans have been in almost 130 years of record-keeping.
"The heat is most noticeable near the Arctic, where water temperatures are as much as 10 degrees above average. The tongues of warm water could help melt sea ice from below and even cause thawing of ice sheets on Greenland" (story)
Earth's glaciers melting at an accelerated rate
"Sep 24, 2009 Glaciers along the margins of Antarctica and Greenland are flowing into the ocean at an ever-increasing rate due to rising sea temperatures, warn researchers in the UK"
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon tells the world's governments "Our foot is stuck on the accelerator and we are heading towards an abyss"
"The world's glaciers are now melting faster than human progress to protect them - or us"
Not only is the Arctic serving as a warning, the warming there is accelerating global climate change, Ban said.
"Instead of reflecting heat, the Arctic is absorbing it as the sea ice diminishes, thus speeding up global warming. Methane, trapped in permafrost and on the sea bed, is escaping into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide."
Ban said the increased melt from the Greenland ice-cap threatens to raise sea levels and alter the flow of the Gulf Stream, essential to keep Europe warm.
Remarks of President Obama at the United Nations Climate Change Summit
"Our generation's response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it boldly, swiftly and together we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe."
Call your Representatives! Rachael Joy speaking for the Environmental Defense Fund on what's happening, and what you can do about it. (watch video)
NYT Dot-Earth Copenhagen Coverage With Andrew Revkin (Dot-Earth)
LinkTV is running a special feature on the Copenhagen Conference and Climate Change, with videos and reports updated weekly (online here)
For a taste of the international discussion going on about the Copenhagen Conference, watch an in-depth report on Al-Jazeera: the news anchor in Doha interviews the Vice President of the European Union, the Pan-African Director of Oxfam, and the President of Micronesia- (watch online)
Climate Week Is Key Stop on Road to Copenhagen
Rep Ed Markey (D. MA) writes:
"Since the last decisive negotiation on a global agreement to address climate change -- held in Kyoto in 1997 -- the transformation of China's position has been the most dramatic. China's rates of investment in clean technology and carbon capture and storage now far outstrip those of the United States; even its efficiency standards for autos outpace ours. China looks to the upcoming round in Copenhagen to secure its position as a market leader in clean tech" (HuffPo-Markey)
Vital Signs of a Warming World The science, impacts, and scenarios of climate shifts- An MSNBC.com special feature
Study: Earth is outside of safe operating space Current environmental trends may lead to a cycle of global catastrophic change, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.
"Our planet taking environmental hits all at once; its truly scary in a lot of ways-"