Glaciers by 2100Himalayan glaciers: What if they melt," The Christian Science Monitor, April 1, 2019.
Do What These Countries Are Doing," The New York Times, February. 13, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/02/13/climate/cut-us-emissions-with-policies-from-other-countries.html, pointed out that even before the Trump administration, the U.S. was lowering its greenhouse gas emissions much too slowly to do its part in averting the worst impacts of global warming. The U.S. could come much closer to doing so simply by adopting seven of the strongest climate policies already being undertaken by other nations.
—Carroll Muffett, Center for International Environmental Law. 'The IPCC has warned that window of action for avoiding irreversible and truly catastrophic climate harms is narrow and closing rapidly. Today's suit against Shell sends a clear signal that business as usual is no longer acceptable. Companies that continue ignoring climate risks can and will be held legally accountable and financially responsible for their actions.'
, "March 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/25/climate/copenhagen-climate-change.html, reported, "Can a city cancel out its greenhouse gas emissions? Copenhagen intends to, and fast. By 2025, this once-grimy industrial city aims to be net carbon neutral, meaning it plans to generate more renewable energy than the dirty energy it consumes."
Studies of the water running off melting glaciers in North America find the runoff to be disrupting eco systems in and around glacially fed waterways, currently by the increase in water and what it carries, but that will be compounded later by declining water flow as the glaciers approach and then reach total melt down (Henry Fountain"When the Glaciers Disappear, Those Species Will Go Extinct,’" The April 17, 2019 https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/16/climate/glaciers-melting-alaska-washington.html).
on Carbon. Are They Working?" The New York Times,
Sandra E. Garcia, "," The New York Times,February 9, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/09/us/seattle-snow.html, reported, "An unusual group of storm systems battering the Pacific Northwest has halted dozens of flights and knocked out power for thousands, hitting Seattle with as much snowfall in one day as it usually receives in a year, according to the National Weather Service."
and "You thought spring was on the horizon, didn't you?," The New York Times, March 1, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/01/us/snow-weather-forecast.html, reports that in a year of extreme weather, where very large storms are compatible with global warming, "Spring may be within sight, but as the calendar flipped to March, forecasters on Friday predicted a walloping storm this weekend, with snow and icy rain expected to coat a 2,500-mile path from Northern California to southern Maine. Rain was also forecast to drench Southern California and much of the South, from Texas to Virginia."
While the Midwest and Northeast were hit by another heavy snow, followed by cold, the southern portion of the huge storm complex cast what used to be well out of season tornadoes, of category 4, across the South. , and , "A warning, and then winds of about 170 miles per hour cut a swath of destruction across Alabama, killing at least 23 and injuring dozens of others?," The New York Times, March 4, 2019, "The tornado ripped a mile-wide gash through the heart of this rural community in eastern Alabama, killing at least 23 people in the deadliest tornado to hit the United States in six years, including three children and several members of some families. Dozens of others were injured, and the authorities said Monday that an untold number still had not been accounted for."
The flooding has been extremely damaging to many Midwest farmers and ranchers, who have lost livestock, equipment and buildings, as well as suffering damage to fields. Coming at a time when they are already under financial pressure, it is likely to force many out of business (, and , "March 18, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/18/us/nebraska-floods.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fmitch-smith&action=click&contentCollection=undefined®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection).
Again, Norimitsu Onishi and Kimon de Greef, April 28, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/28/world/africa/cyclone-kenneth-mozambique.html, reported, "Cyclone Kenneth dumped heavy rains in northern Mozambique on Sunday, flooding parts of a provincial capital, prompting evacuations and complicating efforts by rescuers to reach remote areas. The storm has killed at least five people so far.
, "Once again, federal wildlife officials say their numbers have rebounded. But conservationists may go back to court to fight the move," The New York Times, March 6, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/06/science/gray-wolf-protection.html, reported, "Federal wildlife officials are proposing to strip endangered species protections from the gray wolf populations in the Lower 48 states, citing significant increases in their numbers across much of the nation."
Environmental groups are opposing the action.
In other words, fossil fuel companies have found yet another way to profit off of climate destruction.
What's more, geoengineering technologies could create entirely new threats for human rights and the environment. For example, a technique called solar radiation modification would block the sun’s rays or reflect them back into space, before they have a chance to warm our atmosphere. Yet the technologies to do so also create profound risks that will threaten human health, food security, and the environment across large regions, like acid rain, ozone depletion, and massive changes to rainfall patterns.
To learn more, read CIEL’s new report Fuel to the Fire: How Geoengineering Threatens to Entrench Fossil Fuels and Accelerate the Climate Crisis, https://www.ciel.org/reports/fuel-to-the-fire-how-geoengineering-threatens-to-entrench-fossil-fuels-and-accelerate-the-climate-crisis-feb-2019/
*Carroll Muffett is President of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).
The High Atlas Amazigh people experience hard lives in small villages. Most work as day laborers and agriculturalists with barely enough income to support their families and heat their homes. Education is a major concern, but is hard to attain for a number of reasons. Sometimes families cannot afford the subsequent costs of backpacks and books, even when the school is open and free. The challenge is especially difficult for girls, because, as one person explained, “How can fathers let their girls study if it is dark when they must travel?” The effect of incomplete education is profound, and when we asked one 62-year-old man what he thought the greatest threats to the future were for his community, he did not have confidence in his own experiences, noting, “What can I say? I am not read [educated].”
Through a partnership of the University of Central Florida (Orlando), The Hollings Center for International Dialogue (Washington D.C. and Istanbul), and the High Atlas Foundation (Marrakech), we recently conducted field work in the High Atlas Mountains, speaking with the people there who poured their hearts out to us.
The most consistent message we heard from the people of the High Atlas was that the future hinges on water. One group told us that when things are good, it is because the rain is abundant and on time; things are very hard otherwise. They are worried that climate change will affect if the rains come, or that the rain will not “come in its time.” They have good reason to worry because climate change is expected to decrease precipitation significantly, reducing streams, lakes, and groundwater.
Drought is a constant worry. The World Bank estimates that 37 percent of the population works in agriculture, meanwhile production of cereal crops varies wildly due to annual variation of precipitation-- and 2018 was thankfully a bountiful year. Climate change will make the people of the High Atlas Mountains much more vulnerable while they are already living on the edge of survival. In one area, this change in precipitation timing and amount was already noticeable, resulting in a significant loss of fruit trees. In that same area, we were told that there is fear that there will be no water in twenty years, and that for these people who are deeply connected to the land, there will be “no alternatives.”
The High Atlas people are in an extremely vulnerable position. One group noted that they are so desperate for basic resources that they burn plastic trash to heat their water. Worse, they believe they have been left behind by society and that “the people of the mountains do not matter.” They feel that Moroccan society is deeply unfair—there is no help for the sick, little support for education, little defense against the cold, and that, for some, corruption is the greatest threat to a sustainable future.
Consequently, civil society has an important role in achieving the SDGs. The High Atlas Foundation has been working to help people in this region to organize themselves into collectives that decide both what the collective wants, and pathways to achieve those goals. Women have organized into co-ops that they own and they collect dividends from their products together. People in one coop lobbied the 2015 Conference of Parties climate meeting in Marrakech. Men’s associations have developed tree nurseries that not only produce income, but which protect whole watersheds – and therefore some water for the future. They are also participating in carbon sequestration markets. In this regard, the Marrakech Regional Department of Water and Forest provides them carob trees and the authorization to plant these trees on the mountains surrounding their villages.
However, perhaps the most important element of these collectives is that they give each person in them a voice. Leaders of these collectives have formal rights to approach the regional governments about their needs, and this voice would not be heard at all without the formal collective organization. These organizations cannot replace government services, but they do add capacity to the community.
Not only do these collectives lend people some influence over their current and their children’s lives, they love each other and they are not struggling alone. We witnessed profound solidarity. Repeatedly, the collectives told us “We love each other, we are one family,” “We are like one,” “We help each other,” and the conviction that “I will be with you.” The world is decidedly on an unsustainable path, so If we are going to meet SDGs, all the people like the people of the High Atlas Mountains must matter and their voice deserves to be heard.
You don’t need to pick up a poster or lace up your sneakers to join these incredible students protesting: Sign your name to digitally join the #ClimateStrike: https://secure.314action.org/page/s/314_EM_EN_190315_ClimateStrike_U2_X1firstname.lastname@example.org&zip=87110&utm_medium=email&utm_source=naughton&utm_content=6&utm_campaign=314_EM_EN_190315_ClimateStrike_U2_X1&source=314_EM_EN_190315_ClimateStrike_U2_X1.