Friday, June 7, 2019

Environmental Reports from Spring 2019 Nonviolent Change:
Compiled, May 8, 2019

Table of Contents:
Environmental Developments                                                                                                                                            p.  1
  Carrol Muffett, "Fuel to the Fire: How Geoengineering Threatens to Entrench Fossil Fuels
    And Accelerate Climate Change"                                                                                                                   p. 31
  Stephen M. Sachs, "There May Be Some Viable Forms of Carbon Capture"                                             p. 32
  Tom Solomon, "Renewable Energy is Cheaper than Fossil Fuels. California Proves It"                           p. 33
  Peter J. Jacques, "Civil Society Matters to the Sustainable Development Goals"                                     p. 34
Environmental Activities                                                                                                                                                      p. 35
Upcoming Events                                                                                                                                                 p. 41
Media Notes                                                                                                                                                                          p. 42
Useful Web Sites                                                                                                                                                   p. 42

Environmental Developments

Compiled by Stephen Sachs

Late Development since spring NCJ was posted:
                                Discussion on the Tom Hartmann Radio Program, May 20, 2019, reported that the severe weather in central and Eastern North America is part of a climate change - or now better called "climate crisis" - in which the jet stream no longer keeps extreme weather well to the north. It is now normal - instead of once in decades - to have long seasons of great precipitation, bringing extensive flooding, and wind - including large long ground touching tornados - regularly across much of the regions. A current result is that the flooding and wet fields were well behind their normal achievement in crop planting with further delay from weather likely and some crops already wiped out or heavily damaged. This is expected to bring a poor harvest with food shortages and quite significant food price inflation.

                Julia Conley, "'Terrifying': Rapid Loss of Biodiversity Placing Global Food Supplies at Risk of 'Irreversible Collapse': 'This should be at the top of every news bulletin and every government's agenda around the world,'" Common Dreams, February 22, 2019,, reported, "A groundbreaking report by the United Nations highlighting the rapid, widespread loss of many of the world's plant and animal species should be on the front page of every newspaper in the world, argued climate action and food access advocates on Friday.
                The global grassroots organization Slow Food was among the groups that called for far greater attention by world leaders to the 'debilitating' loss of biodiversity and the disastrous effects the decline is having on food system, which was outlined in a first-of-its kind report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
                'This should be at the top of every news bulletin and every government's agenda around the world,' said Slow Food in a statement. 'Time is running out, we must turn things around within the next 10 years or risk a total and irreversible collapse.'
                According to FAO's study of 91 countries around the world, the loss of thousands of plant and animal species is affecting air and water quality, tree and plant health, and worsening the spread of disease among livestock—all with dangerous implications for the human population and humans' food sources.
                'Less biodiversity means that plants and animals are more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Compounded by our reliance on fewer and fewer species to feed ourselves, the increasing loss of biodiversity for food and agriculture puts food security and nutrition at risk,' said Jose Graziano da Silva, FAO's director-general.
                'Consider biodiversity as a global puzzle,' Switzerland's secretary of state for agriculture, Bernard Lehmann, said Friday. 'Losing too many pieces makes the picture incomplete. Thus, biodiversity loss for food and agriculture represents a big risk for food security.'
                Along with the report, FAO shared a video on Twitter outlining the dire implications of biodiversity loss.
                'Today only nine crops account for 66 percent of total crop production,' the organization said. 'Our forests are shrinking. As they disappear so do the plants, insects, and animals they host...Now is the time to act.'
                According to FAO, at least 24 percent of nearly 4,000 wild food species, including plants, fish, and mammals, are declining in abundance—but the report is likely giving a best-case scenario of the crisis, as the status of more than half of wild food species is unknown.
                Changes in land and water management, pollution, the warming of the globe and the climate crisis are among the factors that FAO is blaming for the catastrophic loss of biodiversity.
            Declining plant biodiversity on working farms has meant that out of 6,000 plant species that can be cultivated for food, fewer than 200 are used significantly as food sources. The report pointed to The Gambia as a country where the loss of wild food sources has led the population to rely heavily on industrially-processed foods.
                Of more than 7,700 breeds of livestock worldwide, more than a quarter are at risk for extinction, according to FAO, while nearly a third of fish species have been overfished and about half have reached their sustainable level, meaning humans must immediately stop driving them toward extinction in order to save the species.
                In the United Kingdom, MP Caroline Lucas of the Green Party pronounced FAO's findings 'terrifying' and demanded that governments take notice immediately to save world food sources.
                Leaders must incentivize the use of sustainable practices for farming, Lucas argued, as well as pushing for a worldwide ban on dangerous pesticides like neonicotinoids, which have threatened the world's pollinators and in turn have put at risk every third bite of food that humans take.
                Combating the loss of biodiversity 'relies on combining modern knowledge and technology with its traditional counterparts, and redefining our approach to agriculture and food production, placing the preservation of biodiversity and ecology on equal footing with profit and productivity,' said Slow Food. 'On every level, from small-scale farmers and producers, to the highest levels of government, and through regulations like those in the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), must be geared towards a food system that protects biodiversity.'
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                Jon Queally, "Scientists Warn Crashing Insect Population Puts 'Planet's Ecosystems and Survival of Mankind' at Risk: 'This is the stuff that worries me most. We don't know what we're doing, not trying to stop it, [and] with big consequences we don't really understand,'" Common Dreams, February 11, 2019,, reported, "The first global scientific review of its kind reaches an ominous conclusion about the state of nature warning that unless humanity drastically and urgently changes its behavior the world's insects could be extinct within a century.
                Presented in exclusive reporting by the Guardian's environment editor Damian Carrington, the findings of the new analysis, published in the journal Biological Conservation, found that industrial agricultural techniques—'particularly the heavy use of pesticides'—as well as climate change and urbanization are the key drivers behind the extinction-level decline of insect populations that could herald a 'catastrophic collapse of nature's ecosystems' if not addressed.
                'If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet's ecosystems and for the survival of mankind,' report co-author Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, at the University of Sydney, Australia, told the Guardian. Sánchez-Bayo wrote the scholarly analysis with Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.
                Calling the current annual global insect decline rate of 2.5 percent over the last three decades a 'shocking' number, Sánchez-Bayo characterized it as 'very rapid' for insects worldwide. If that continues, he warned: 'In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.'
                Isn't this a bit alarmist? Anticipating that concern, Sánchez-Bayo said the language of the report was intended 'to really wake people up,' but that's because the findings are so worrying.
                Not involved with the study, Professor Dave Goulson at the University of Sussex in the UK, agreed. 'It should be of huge concern to all of us,' Goulson told the Guardian, 'for insects are at the heart of every food web, they pollinate the large majority of plant species, keep the soil healthy, recycle nutrients, control pests, and much more. Love them or loathe them, we humans cannot survive without insects.'
                As Carrington reports:
                The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are 'essential' for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.
                Insect population collapses have recently been reported in Germany and Puerto Rico, but the review strongly indicates the crisis is global. The researchers set out their conclusions in unusually forceful terms for a peer-reviewed scientific paper: 'The [insect] trends confirm that the sixth major extinction event is profoundly impacting [on] life forms on our planet.'
                Doug Parr, the chief scientist for Greenpeace U.K., responded to the reporting by saying these are the climate-related developments that concern him most of all.
                'I spend so many hours a week concerned climate change,' he said in a tweet linking to the story. 'But this is the stuff that worries me most. We don't know what we're doing, not trying to stop it, [and] with big consequences we don't really understand.'
                According to Sánchez-Bayo, the 'main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,' and he put special emphasis on new classes of pesticides and herbicides that have been brought to market over the last twenty years alongside a global surge in industrialized monocultures. 'That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides,' he said.
                As campaigners worldwide intensify their collective demand that elected leaders, governments, communities, and businesses do significantly more to address the crisis of a warming planet and halt the destruction of the Earth's natural systems, journalist David Sirota contrasted evidence of species loss—and the threat it contains—with those voices who say something like a Green New Deal would somehow be "too expensive" or disruptive to the status quo:
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                Brad Plumer, "Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace," The New York Times, May 6, 2019,, reported, "Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.
            The 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilization. A summary of its findings, which was approved by representatives from the United States and 131 other countries, was released Monday in Paris. The full report is set to be published this year."
            Tremendous loss has already taken place as a result of over use of resources, destruction of forests and other lands, pollution and climate change. The loss to date is world wide and increasing, with an average loss in abundance of native animal likfe and plants over the hundred years of at least 20%. Expansion of logging, mining, drilling, fishing, poaching and farming are major causes.
            Espcially with increasing global warming induced climate change, loss of biodiversity is expected to accelerate through 2050, especially in tropical areas, unless nations drastically increase their conservation efforts. 
            The report clearly shows that the degradation of the envoronment and loss of species has grave concequences for humans, as it is creating food scarcity and greatly diminishing increasingly scarce supplies of clean water, along with causing resuctions of other important resources. In economic terms, the significant cost of investing in conservation and adequate reducution of production of greenhouse gasses is far less than the cost of the damage from not acting suffiently. It is currently estimated that, just in the Americas, nature provides $24 trillion in non-monitized benefits a year, which would increasingly be lost, while additional trillions of dollars worth of damage would occur - as human beings increasingly suffer harm and death.
            One example of the damage is that while agricultural production has risen world wide, land has been degraded - made less producive - on 23 percent of the world's agricultural land.
 The report found that, "Unless nations step up their efforts to protect what natural habitats are left, they could witness the disappearance of 40 percent of amphibian species, one-third of marine mammals and one-third of reef-forming corals. More than 500,000 land species, the report said, do not have enough natural habitat left to ensure their long-term survival."

                Jessica Corbett, "Climate Crisis Could Expose Half a Billion More People to Tropical Mosquito-Borne Diseases by 2050: 'Climate change is going to kill a lot of people. Mosquito-borne diseases are going to be a big way that happens," Common Dreams, March 29, 2019,, reported, "Rising global temperatures could put half a billion more people at risk for tropical mosquito-borne diseases like chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, and Zika by 2050, according to a new study.
            While a growing body of recent research warns the human-caused climate crisis will cause general worldwide 'environmental breakdown,' a study published Thursday in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases focuses specifically on a related public health threat: how a hotter world will enable disease-carrying mosquitoes to reach more people.
                The study's lead author Sadie Ryan of the University of Florida—joined by researchers from Georgetown University, Stanford University, and Virginia Tech—examined how projected temperature rise for 2050 and 2080 could impact the global distribution of the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).
                The team estimates that currently, about six billion people are exposed for a month or more annually to climates suitable for those mosquitoes to transmit diseases. As temperatures climb, colder regions such as parts of Canada and Northern Europe will become more hospitable to mosquitoes, at the human population's expense.
                'Plain and simple, climate change is going to kill a lot of people,' coauthor Colin Carlson of Georgetown told Nexus Media News. 'Mosquito-borne diseases are going to be a big way that happens, especially as they spread from the tropics to temperate countries.'
Lead author Ryan emphasized that public health experts should be preparing now for the outbreaks predicted to occur in new places over the next few decades. As the study explains:
                Aedes-borne virus expansion into regions that lack previous exposure is particularly concerning, given the potential for explosive outbreaks when arboviruses are first introduced into naïve populations, like chikungunya and Zika in the Americas. The emergence of a Zika pandemic in the Old World, the establishment of chikungunya in Europe beyond small outbreaks, or introduction of dengue anywhere a particular serotype has not recently been found, is a critical concern for global health preparedness.
                'These diseases, which we think of as strictly tropical, have been showing up already in areas with suitable climates,' Ryan noted, "because humans are very good at moving both bugs and their pathogens around the globe."
                For example, she told Nexus, 'We've seen dengue showing up in Hawaii and Florida, then we saw Zika arrive in Florida and really grab public attention.'
                While the study echoes warnings from past papers, Carlson pointed out the limitations of their research—especially given the rapid rate at which the planet is already warming.
                'We've only managed to capture the uncertain futures for two mosquitoes that spread a handful of diseases — and there's at least a dozen vectors we need this information on,' he said. 'It's very worrisome to think how much these diseases might increase, but it's even more concerning that we don't have a sense of that future. We have several decades of work to do in the next couple years if we want to be ready.'
Though their findings suggest a bleak future, Carlson was also optimistic about the potential for broader public health reforms.
                'Facing something as massive as climate change gives us a chance to rethink the world's health disparities, and work towards a future where fewer people die of preventable diseases like these,' he concluded. 'Facing climate change and tackling the burden of neglected tropical diseases go hand-in-hand.'
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                Kendra Pierre-Louis, "The World Is Losing Fish to Eat as Oceans Warm, Study Finds," The New York Times, Feb. 28, 2019,, reported, "Fish populations are declining as oceans warm, putting a key source of food and income at risk for millions of people around the world, according to new research published Thursday.
            The study found that the amount of seafood that humans could sustainably harvest from a wide range of species shrank by 4.1 percent from 1930 to 2010, a casualty of human-caused climate change."
            The loss of fish populations from global warming, which is separate from losses from other causes, such as over fishing and pollution, from 1930 to 2010 totals about 1.4 million metric tons of sea life. some area of the oceans have lost up to 35% of their fish from warming. Sea food constitutes about 17% of the animal protein consumed by people world-wide, and a much higher percent in some places.

                Jessica Corbett, "'A World Without Clouds. Think About That a Minute': New Study Details Possibility of Devastating Climate Feedback Loop: 'We face a stark choice [between] radical, disruptive changes to our physical world or radical, disruptive changes to our political and economic systems to avoid those outcomes,'" Common Dreams, February 25, 2019,, reported, "As people across the globe mobilize to demand bold action to combat the climate crisis and scientific findings about looming 'environmental breakdown' pile up, a startling new study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience warns that human-caused global warming could cause stratocumulus clouds to totally disappear in as little as a century, triggering up to 8°C (14°F) of additional warming.
                Stratocumulus clouds cover about two-thirds of the Earth and help keep it cool by reflecting solar radiation back to space. Recent research has suggested that planetary warming correlates with greater cloud loss, stoking fears about a feedback loop that could spell disaster.
                For this study, researchers at the California Institute of Technology used a supercomputer simulation to explore what could lead these low-lying, lumpy clouds to vanish completely. As science journalist Natalie Wolchover laid out in a lengthy piece for Quanta Magazine titled 'A World Without Clouds':
                The simulation revealed a tipping point: a level of warming at which stratocumulus clouds break up altogether. The disappearance occurs when the concentration of CO2 in the simulated atmosphere reaches 1,200 parts per million [ppm]—a level that fossil fuel burning could push us past in about a century, under 'business-as-usual' emissions scenarios. In the simulation, when the tipping point is breached, Earth's temperature soars 8 degrees Celsius, in addition to the 4 degrees of warming or more caused by the CO2 directly...
                To imagine 12 degrees of warming, think of crocodiles swimming in the Arctic and of the scorched, mostly lifeless equatorial regions during the [Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum or PETM]. If carbon emissions aren't curbed quickly enough and the tipping point is breached, 'that would be truly devastating climate change,' said Caltech's Tapio Schneider, who performed the new simulation with Colleen Kaul and Kyle Pressel.
                Quanta Magazine also broke down the study's key findings in a short video shared on social media:
The study elicited alarm from climate campaigners along with calls for the 'radical, disruptive changes' to society's energy and economic systems that scientists and experts have repeatedly said are necessary to prevent climate catastrophe:
                Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere has surged from about 280 ppm to more than 410 ppm today. Although concentrations will continue to rise as long as the international community maintains unsustainable activities that generate greenhouse gas emissions, some observers pointed out that atmospheric carbon hitting 1,200 ppm is far from a foregone conclusion.
                And, as Penn State University climatologist Michael E. Mann noted, 'if we let CO2 levels get anywhere near that high we're already in big trouble.'
                However, as Washington Post climate reporter Chris Mooney concluded in a series of tweets, 'the point is not that this scary scenario is going to happen. Given the current trajectory of climate policy and renewables, it seems unlikely. Rather, the key point—and it's a big deal—is that there are many things we don't understand about the climate system and there could be key triggers out there, which set off processes that you can't easily stop.'
                In other words, as MIT professor Thomas Levenson put it: 'The really terrifying aspect of this research is the reminder that we do not yet know all the ways catastrophic outcomes can emerge from this uncontrolled experiment on our only habitat.'
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                Julia Conley, "Evidence of Human-Caused Climate Crisis Has Now Reached 'Gold Standard'-Level Certainty, Scientists Say: 'There's a one-in-a-million chance humans are NOT warming the planet,'" Common Dreams, February 25, 2019,, reported, "Most Americans now recognize the scientific community's consensus that human activity is fueling the climate crisis, according to polls—but for those who are still unconvinced of the conclusion reached by 97 percent of climate scientists, a new study makes an even more definite assertion.
                Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California found that the information available can now be classified as "five-sigma"—a standard in the scientific community meaning that there is a one-in-a-million chance that the same data would be observable if humans were not causing the planet to grow warmer through activities like fossil fuel extraction. The classification represents a "gold standard" level of certainty
                'The narrative out there that scientists don't know the cause of climate change is wrong,' Benjamin Santer, who led the study, told Reuters. 'We do.'
                Scientists applied the same 'five-sigma' measure to research confirming the existence of the Higgs boson subatomic particle in 2012, a finding that was received with applause from the science community and the press.  
                The report, which was published in the journal Nature Climate Change, builds on the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report from 2013, which found that it was 'extremely likely' that humans were causing the climate crisis—with a 95 percent chance.
                In recent years, although President Donald Trump and other Republican lawmakers have attempted to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that human activity is causing global warming and the climate crisis, the American public has increasingly believed scientists.
                In a 2018 survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, 62 percent of Americans believed that man-made climate change was taking place, versus just 47 percent convinced that was the case just five years earlier.
                The Nature Climate Change study also comes on the heels of reports that the melting of ice in Antarctica and the warming of the ocean are both occurring much faster than previously thought; that the last four years have been the hottest on record; and that the warming of the globe could cause clouds to disappear from the sky in the next generation, leading to an 8º Celsius (14.4º Fahrenheit) jump in temperature.   
                'Humanity cannot afford to ignore such clear signals,' the authors of the most recent study wrote in Nature Climate Change.
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                Kendra Pierre-Louis and Nadja Popovich, "Ocean Heat Waves Are Threatening Marine Life," The New York Times, March 4, 2019,, reported that deadly heat waves in the ocean are occurring more often, and at higher temperatures with global warming induced climate change. They create considerable harm to marine life, including being destructive of coral reefs to kelp forests to sea grass beds, the framework of many ocean ecosystems. "An earlier study by some of the same researchers found that, from 1925 to 2016, marine heat waves became, on average, 34 percent more frequent and 17 percent longer. Over all, there were 54 percent more days per year with marine heat waves globally."
            Moreover, “There’s also some indication that El Niños have been getting more extreme with climate change.”
                The Earth's heating up continued in 2018, which was the fourth hottest year since world temperature began being recorded in 1880, with all of the 10 hotest years being recent (John Schawartz and Nadia Popovich, "2018 Continued Warming Trendm As Fourth Hottest uyear since 1880," The New York Times, February 7, 2019).

                Jon Queally, "Researchers Warn Arctic Has Entered 'Unprecedented State' That Threatens Global Climate Stability: 'Never have so many Arctic indicators been brought together in a single paper,' And the findings spell trouble for the entire planet," Common Dreams, April 8, 2019,, reported, "A new research paper by American and European climate scientists focused on Arctic warming published Monday reveals that the 'smoking gun' when it comes to changes in the world's northern polar region is rapidly warming air temperatures that are having—and will continue to have—massive and negative impacts across the globe.
                The new paper—titled 'Key Indicators of Arctic Climate Change: 1971–2017'—is the work of scientists at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland in Copenhagen (GUES).
                'The Arctic system is trending away from its 20th century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic,' said Jason Box of the GUES, lead author of the study. "Because the Arctic atmosphere is warming faster than the rest of the world, weather patterns across Europe, North America, and Asia are becoming more persistent, leading to extreme weather conditions. Another example is the disruption of the ocean circulation that can further destabilize climate: for example, cooling across northwestern Europe and strengthening of storms.'
                John Walsh, chief scientist at AUF's research center, was the one who called arctic air temperatures the 'smoking gun' discovered during the research—a finding the team did not necessarily anticipate.
                'I didn't expect the tie-in with temperature to be as strong as it was,' Walsh said. 'All the variables are connected with temperature. All components of the Arctic system are involved in this change.' 
                The study, published Monday as the flagship piece in a special issue on Arctic climate change indicators published by the journal Environmental Research Letters, is the first of its kind to combine observations of physical climate indicators—such as snow cover, rainfall, and seasonal measurements of sea ice extent—with biological impacts, such as a mismatch in the timing of flowers blooming and pollinators working.  According to Walsh, 'Never have so many Arctic indicators been brought together in a single paper.'
                This three-and-a-half minute video put together by the research team, explains its methodology and findings in detail:
                The new study comes as temperature records in the polar regions continue to break record after record. Last week, climatologists said Alaska experienced the highest March temperatures ever recorded.
                Statewide temperatures averaged 27°F degrees last month, a full 4 degrees higher than the record set in 1965. Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist with the International Arctic Research Center at University of Alaska Fairbanks, told the Anchorage Daily News, "We're not just eking past records. This is obliterating records."
                Also last month, as Common Dreams reported, the UN Environment Programme (ENUP) warned in a far-reaching report that winter temperatures in the Arctic are already 'locked in' in such a way that significant sea level increases are now inevitable this century.
                Rising temperatures, along with ocean acidification, pollution, and thawing permafrost threaten the Arctic and the more than four million people who inhabit it, including 10 percent who are Indigenous. But, as UNEP acting executive director Joyce Msuya noted at the time, 'What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.'
                That warning was echoed by the researchers behind the new study out Monday. Their hope, they said, is that the findings about air temperatures and the delicate interconnections between the climate and other natural systems in the Artic will 'provide a foundation for a more integrated understanding of the Arctic and its role in the dynamics of the Earth's biogeophysical systems.'
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                Julia O’Malley, "Alaska Relies on Ice. What Happens When It Can’t Be Trusted? The New York Times, April 10, 2019,, reported, "It’s not springtime now in Alaska, it’s “break-up” — the end of safe travel on ice.
            And in an era of climate change, break-up has been coming too soon, especially this year. The ice has become unpredictable, creating new, sometimes deadly hazards and a host of practical problems that disrupt the rhythms of everyday life.
                The ice roads that carry freight in winter and spring have been going soft prematurely. Hunters cannot ride safely to their spring camps. Sled-dog races have been canceled. People traveling on frozen rivers by A.T.V. or snowmobile are falling through; some have died. Rescuers trying to reach them have been stymied by thin ice."

                The most comprehensive report to date on the melting of Himalayan glaciers, by the UN science panel on climate change found that two thirds of these glaciers may completely melt by 2100 at the current pattern of increasing global warming. That would bring increasing flooding, and then very wide spread increasing reductions of water in much of Asia, with disastrous consequences (Kai Schultz and Bhadra Sharma, "'Climate Crisis' May Melt Most Himalayan
Glaciers by 2100," The New York Times, February 5, 2019). A Briefing on the finding of the report is in, "Himalayan glaciers: What if they melt," The Christian Science Monitor, April 1, 2019.

                A study published in Nature Climate Change in early February 2019 found that across the northern latitudes around the world, already 1.4 million lakes that used to freeze regularly in winter no longer do so (Nadiia Popovich, "Hockey on the Lake May Soon Be a Freezing Memory," The New York Times, February 8, 2019).

                Brad Plummer and Blacki igliozzi, "How to Cut U.S. Emissions Faster?
Do What These Countries Are Doing," The New York Times, February. 13, 2019,, 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.
                Modeling by Energy Innovation, indicates that if the United States put in place an economy-wide carbon tax similar to British Columbia’s, which started small and is set to rise to $37.50 per ton, emissions would start to fall significantly. The U.S. as a whole could  follow California's lead in requiring all production of electricity only from zero-carbon sources — such as wind, solar or nuclear.
            Adopting Norway’s electric-vehicle incentives, which have resulted in plug-in cars now comprising half of all new sales, would further lower global warming causing emissions, though this would be a slow process, as it would require many years for millions of older cars to be retired. Following China's lead, the U.S. could greatly increase industrial energy efficiency by setting efficiency targets for industries such as cement, steel and petrochemical, requiring them to utilize the most efficient current technologies.
                Again spreading a California policy nationwide, the country could greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions stemming from heating and cooling by adopting strict energy efficiency standards for all new construction.
                If the United States returned to moving to force the gas and oil industry to cut the huge amounts of methane, a far more atmospheric warming gas than carbon dioxide, that are currently leaking, the impact would be a significant reduction in warming, which would save the oil and gas companies from losing billions of dollars’ worth of natural gas.
                The United States could duplicate the European Union’s legislation to end the use of hydrofluorocarbons, powerful greenhouse gases used in air-conditioners, refrigerators and foams. Currently the U.S. pollutes considerably in this way, having so far only cut previous use of hydrofluorocarbons in half.
                Adoption of these seven policies would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States about 29 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, and approximately 50 percent by 2050. To reduce warming emissions further and faster, something the United Nations scientific panel has said is necessary to keep total global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, the United States and other nations would need to adopt policies exceeding anything that has been put into practice so far. Additional measures might include a much greater tax on carbon, investing in advanced clean-energy technologies, retrofitting older buildings, reducing energy use (including increasing energy efficiency) in sectors such as air travel and shipping, deploying carbon capture systems in industry and from the atmosphere, revitalizing forests and curbing methane and nitrogen pollution from livestock and farming.

                Costa Rica has launched a plan to end fossil fuel use by 2050. Already most of the country's electric production is from hydroelectric, geothermal, wind and solar generation, and forest cover has been doubled in the last 30 years, pulling large amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air. The plan includes switching rapidly to electric trains, busses and cars - but the changeover to all electric automobiles may be difficult to achieve fully (Sonimi Sengupta and Alexander Villegas, "With Green Deal, Costa Tries to Show the World How It's Done," The New York Times, March 12, 2019).

                 Eric C. Evarts, "Pumped hydro could deliver 100 percent renewable electricity," GreenCarReports, April 3, 2019,, reported, "Achieving 100 percent renewable power, as Congressional Democrats' Green New Deal and other proposals around the world envision, will require a lot of energy storage. And while the cost and availability of a storage batteries has made significant progress lately, they may not be the best solution to store renewable energy.
            A new study by researchers at the Australian National University have identified 530,000 sites around the world suitable for pumped hydro storage that can store up to 22 million gigawatt hours of electricitycoincidentally about what other studies show would be needed to support a reliable electric grid powered entirely by renewable energy
                The storage would be needed to take full advantage of renewable wind and solar power even when consumers are not demanding peak power, and then supply that power back to the grid at times when they do.
                Lithium-ion batteries similar to those made for electric cars, such as Tesla's commercial Powerpacks, are being installed on the grid around the world, including at large wind and solar farms as well as local transformer stations. Some automakers, utilities, and EV charging networks are also installing used electric-car batteries to buffer the grid on a trial basis.
                Pumped hydro storage is a much older and larger technology. It uses excess electricity produced at night to pump water uphill into reservoirs or storage tanks, then works like conventional hydro-electricity to spin turbines as the water flows back downhill during the day. Unlike conventional hydro, it doesn't generate net new power, but does improve grid reliability and enable new sources of renewable electricity to come online, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.'
                As of 2014, the latest year for which numbers are available, the U.S. had almost 24 gigawatt-hours of pumped hydro storage at 40 locations around the U.S."

                The May 2019 Issue of In These Times, to be available at:, "Getting to Zero," presents a number of interrelated articles on how a Green New Deal might work successfully.

                Jessica Corbett, "Bold New Campaign Highlights How 'Nature Can Save Us' From Climate and Ecological Breakdown: 'The protection and restoration of these ecosystems can help to minimize a sixth great extinction, while enhancing local people's resilience against climate disaster,'" Common Dreams, April 3, 2019,, reported, "A group of activists, experts, and writers on Wednesday launched a bold new campaign calling for the 'thrilling but neglected approach' of embracing nature's awesome restorative powers to battle the existential crises of climate and ecological breakdown.
                Averting catastrophic global warming and devastating declines in biodiversity, scientists warn, requires not only overhauling human activities that generate planet-heating emissions—like phasing out fossil fuels—but also cutting down on the carbon that is already in the atmosphere.
                In a letter to governments, NGOs, the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Natural Climate Solutions campaign calls for tackling these crises by not only rapidly decarbonizing economies, but also by 'drawing carbon dioxide out of the air by protecting and restoring ecosystems.'
                'By defending, restoring and re-establishing forests, peatlands, mangroves, salt marshes, natural seabeds, and other crucial ecosystems, very large amounts of carbon can be removed from the air and stored,' the letter says. 'At the same time, the protection and restoration of these ecosystems can help to minimize a sixth great extinction, while enhancing local people's resilience against climate disaster.
                The letter urges the politicians, nonprofits, and international bodies to support such solutions with research, funding, and political commitment—and to 'work with the guidance and free, prior and informed consent of indigenous people and other local communities.'
                The campaign also put out a short video that outlines 'how nature can save us from climate breakdown.'
                The video notes that 'exotic and often dangerous schemes have been proposed' to reduce atmospheric carbon—referencing controversial geoengineering suggestions favored by some politicians and scientists—'but there's a better and simpler way: let nature do it for us.'
                Writer and environmentalist George Monbiot, a leader of the campaign, laid out the scientific support for this approach to carbon drawdown in an essay on the campaign's website as well as in his Wednesday column for the Guardian.
                Detailing the potential impact of restoring lands worldwide, Monbiot wrote for the newspaper:
            The greatest drawdown potential per hectare (though the total area is smaller) is the restoration of coastal habitats such as mangroves, salt marsh and seagrass beds. They stash carbon 40 times faster than tropical forests can. Peaty soils are also vital carbon stores. They are currently being oxidized by deforestation, drainage, drying, burning, farming, and mining for gardening and fuel. Restoring peat, by blocking drainage channels and allowing natural vegetation to recover, can suck back much of what has been lost.
                'Scientists have only begun to explore how the recovery of certain animal populations could radically change the carbon balance,' he acknowledged, pointing to forest elephants and rhinos in Africa and Asia and tapirs in Brazil as examples.
                'Instead of making painful choices and deploying miserable means to a desirable end,' Monbiot concluded, 'we can defend ourselves from disaster by enhancing our world of wonders.'
                Key supporters of the campaign include youth climate strike leader Greta Thunberg; journalist Naomi Klein; author and activist Bill McKibben; Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann; former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed; and activist Yeb Saño,along with more than a dozen others who signed the letter.
                'Healing and restoring the natural world is key to carbon drawdown,' Klein tweeted Wednesday, 'plus it makes life fuller and richer and can create millions of jobs.'
Despite the high profiles of many supporters, the campaign launch did not attract the attention of the corporate media.
                Monbiot took to Twitter to call out broadcast outlets for failing to cover not only the climate and ecological crises, but also potential solutions like those offered by the new campaign. As he put it, 'They are living in a world of their own.'
                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

                Andrea Germanos, "To Stop Shell From Pulling 'World Into the Abyss,' Climate Groups Deliver Groundbreaking Summons: Case seeks prevention of future climate harm," Common Dreams, April 5, 2019,, reported, "A coalition of environmental groups issued Shell a court summons Friday demanding the company shift course from its fossil fuel business model and act on its responsibility to stop fueling the climate crisis.
                The legal fight is 'not only to protect present generations but also to protect future generations,' according to the document (pdf).
                'Shell's directors still do not want to say goodbye to oil and gas,' Donald Pols, director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, said in a statement. 'They would pull the world into the abyss. The judge can prevent this from happening.'
                The document was delivered to Shell's international headquarters in the Hague, with Friends of the Earth Netherlands, ActionAid NL, Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL, Greenpeace NL, Young Friends of the Earth NL, and Waddenvereniging acting as co-plaintiffs. It starts legal processing against the company after it brushed off (pdf) a notice of liability last year.
                The summons calls for the fossil fuel giant to appear in the District Court of The Hague on April 17,  2019.
                Speaking about the case to Friends of the Earth's Real World Radio, Roger Cox, the lawyer representing the co-plaintiffs, explained its groundbreaking nature.  
                'This is a particular unique case because what we are seeking here is a prevention of future climate harm, instead of looking for financial compensation for loses that have already occurred,' he said.
                The summons says that the company is making 'substantial' contributions towards global carbon emissions, continues to pursue fossil fuels despite knowing their contribution to the climate crisis, and has an obligation under Dutch law to act on the Paris climate goals. 
                Cox told RWR that 'we also feel that the time is now to make these changes and use the law as an instrument to accelerate the energy transition and to achieve the Paris goal.'
While the case has a lofty goal, 'we do feel that we can win,' he said. As he explained in a statement, this could have far-reaching effects.
                'If successful, the uniqueness of the case would be that Shell, as one of the largest multinational corporations in the world, would be legally obligated to change its business operations. We also expect that this would have an effect on other fossil fuel companies, raising the pressure on them to change.'
                That change can't come fast enough, added Carroll Muffett, president of the Center for International Environmental Law.
                'Today's suit against Shell sends a clear signal that business as usual is no longer acceptable.'
                —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.'
                'Investors and corporate decision-makers who ignore this new reality,' she said, 'do so at their peril.'
                To hear more about the case, watch the video below from Friends of the Earth:
The People vs Shell from Friends of the Earth on Vimeo:
                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License,"

                Brad Plumer, 'A ‘Green New Deal’ Is Far From Reality, but Climate Action Is Picking Up in the States," The New York Times, February 8, 2019,, reported that with the election of more Democratic governors in November, more states are moving to counter global warming, including a few with Republican governors, "
                "Even though talk of a “Green New Deal” is getting louder in Congress, the odds of major federal climate legislation passing in the next two years remain extremely low.
                It’s a different story at the state level, however: The midterm elections in the fall brought in a new wave of governors who are now setting climate goals for their states and laying out more ambitious plans to cut emissions and expand low-carbon energy.
                In the past month, newly elected Democratic governors in Michigan, Illinois and New Mexico have joined the United States Climate Alliance, a group of 19 states and Puerto Rico that has vowed to uphold the Paris climate agreement despite President Trump’s disavowal of the accord. With the new additions, the alliance now covers one-third of America’s greenhouse gas emissions and nearly half its population."
                "States can only do so much to tackle global warming by themselves. But they can serve as laboratories of sorts, testing which climate policies work well and which ones are ineffective or too costly. And, by advancing technologies like wind, solar or electric vehicles, they could pave the way for more ambitious federal action — should that moment ever arrive.
                Here are some of the biggest steps states have taken recently on climate policy."
                Michigan's governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has moved to establish an office of climate and energy.
                With the rapid reductions in the cost of renewable energy, numerous states have been to requiring utilities to use more renewable electricity.
                In Maine, new Democratic governor, Janet Mills, has pledged to reinstate incentives for rooftop solar and to increase wind power locally — actions that had been stopped by her Republican predecessor.
                In New Mexico, Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, is supporting a legislation requiring electric utilities to obtain 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2030, as has been required in neighboring states, such as Colorado and Nevada. (Nevada voters in November approved a requirement for 50 percent renewables by 2030).
                The most forward looking action has come from governors who are proposing plans for their states to achieve 100 percent electricity generation from zero-carbon sources. Legislators in California and Hawaii have required utilities to meet this target by 2045, while the governors of Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey and New York have stated they will introduce similar requirements.
                To achieve these objectives will require innovative developments, so there is no guarantee of success. Moving to 100 percent zero-carbon electricity will require extensive new nationwide transmission lines, a variety of the developing energy storage techniques or help yet to be developed or proven technologies. Some favor advanced nuclear power, which is strongly opposed by others.
                Meanwhile, a number of states are experimenting with varied approaches. Hawaii, for example, wants to achieve its goal solely through renewable energy. By contrast, New Jersey  Governor Philip D. Murphy signed legislation to continue operation of the state’s nuclear plants  as portion of a low-carbon portfolio. Meanwhile, New York has begun soliciting bids to construct large new offshore wind farms.
                Electricity produces about  a third of United States carbon dioxide emissions. To achieve sufficient greenhouse gas reduction, states also will need to reduce emissions from the cars and trucks on their roads, which produce another third.
                In December 2018, nine Eastern states and the District of Columbia announced they would cooperate in placing a price on emissions from transportation fuels, and investing the revenue in lower-carbon solutions. These might encompass mass transit, electric buses or charging stations for plug-in vehicles.
                A number of states, such as Pennsylvania and Maryland, will have to stop the stubborn rise in driving emissions if they are to meet their self-imposed climate goals.
                Many of the states are following the lead of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade system in the Pacific Northeast that auctions a steadily reduced supply of carbon pollution permits to power plants and applies the revenue to invest in energy efficiency and clean energy programs.
                Cutting carbon emissions in transportation is complicated, with its many factors, and thus more difficult to achieve, but steps are already being taken to deal with the problem, including by three Republican governors, in Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont.
                Additional proposals are being considered to cut greenhouse gas emissions in a number of states.

                Alexander C. Kaufman, "New York City Passes Historic Climate Legislation," Portside, April 21, 2012,, reported, "The Climate Mobilization Act lays the groundwork for New York City’s own Green New Deal.
                "The nation’s largest and most economically influential city passed a historic bill Thursday capping climate-changing pollution from big buildings and mandating unprecedented cuts to greenhouse gases
                The City Council approved the legislation in a 45-to-2 vote Thursday afternoon, all but ensuring its passage by a mayor eager to burnish his climate bona fides ahead of a potential run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020." 
                "The legislation sets emissions caps for various types of buildings over 25,000 square feet; buildings produce nearly 70% of the city’s emissions. It sets steep fines if landlords miss the targets. Starting in 2024, the bill requires landlords to retrofit buildings with new windows, heating systems and insulation that would cut emissions by 40% in 2030, and double the cuts by 2050."

                Jessica Corbett, "'A Real Win-Win-Win': New Report Reveals Benefits of $500 Billion Investment in Energy Efficiency: 'For the sake of our planet and economy, energy efficiency must be a national and regional priority in the United States,'" Common Dreams, March 26, 2019,, reported, "A new report out Tuesday reveals that investing $500 billion in making U.S. residential and commercial buildings more energy efficient would benefit the planet, save money, and create millions of jobs.
                'Residential and commercial buildings are considerable power hogs, accounting for 39 percent of U.S. energy use, more than either the industrial or transportation sectors,' explains the environmental group Food & Water Watch in Building Climate Justice: Investing in Energy Efficiency for a Fair and Just Transition (pdf).
                While acknowledging scientists' increasingly urgent warnings about the necessity of rapidly transitioning global energy systems away from fossil fuels in favor of clean renewables like solar and wind, the report focuses on the far-reaching and positive consequences of improving the energy efficiency of buildings across the country.
                Food & Water Watch lays out the impact of investing about $33.3 billion a year in a nationwide initiative from 2020 to 2035. That funding, along with 'aggressive and robust energy efficiency policies,' would be complementary to broader efforts designed to curb planet-warming emissions and prevent climate catastrophe.
                Researchers found that 'this substantial investment would reap dramatic economic benefits, create good jobs that foster a fair and just transition to clean energy, reduce energy use, and save money—all while reducing climate emissions.'
                Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter tied the report's recommendations to the national discussion about climate policies, including the Green New Deal resolution introduced earlier this year by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
                With all the talk about a Green New Deal, one critical piece of any effective climate policy that has largely been left out of the conversation is energy efficiency,' Hauter said. "It is the low-hanging fruit in terms of technological feasibility and cost-benefit gain.'
                Responding to the report, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement from Food & Water Watch, 'Energy efficiency has enormous potential to create millions of jobs, reduce carbon pollution, and save American families money on their energy bills—a real win-win-win.'
                Sanders, a cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution who is seeking the Democratic Party's nomination for the 2020 presidential race, added, 'We must immediately come together to take bold action to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy.'
                By 2035, building upgrades would cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 300 million metric tons, compared with current projections, and cumulatively reduce utility bills by an estimated $1.3 trillion, according to the report.
                'Both the investment and the savings on utility bills,' it states, 'would spur economic growth and job creation—necessary for a fair and just transition for fossil fuel workers and a needed economic jolt to America's communities that have not shared in the economic growth over the past 40 years.'
                This plan could generate more than 20 million full-times jobs, boosting U.S. job creation by about 20 percent, and 'the majority of these jobs would be high-quality construction and manufacturing jobs that can support families and provide future career opportunities.'
                Food & Water Watch emphasizes the importance of supporting workers whose jobs will be lost in the transition away from fossil fuels, specifically calling for '100 percent wage and benefit insurance for five years to ensure that workers and their families do not face catastrophic economic shocks from job displacement.'
                In addition to outlining the benefits of funding energy efficiency improvements, the report also features a blueprint for upgrading buildings. 'Existing buildings need to be retrofitted and upgraded,' it says, 'and states and localities must update building codes to ensure that new construction maximizes energy efficiency."
                Suggestions for both new and existing structures include: weatherizing building envelopes to prevent heating and cooling leaks; upgrading heating and cooling equipment; modernizing lighting; and replacing inefficient appliances and devices.
                The report urges Congress to:
fully fund the Weatherization Assistance Program to upgrade all eligible homes by 2035;
target investments in socially and economically disadvantaged areas and in environmental justice communities with disproportionate pollution burdens;
            robustly invest in upgrading the energy efficiency of all federal buildings;
expand funding for energy efficiency research at the Department of Energy;
strengthen and require regular upgrades to mandatory energy efficiency requirements for appliances, building shell technologies and other equipment, as well as further incentivize efficiency improvements; and
            provide sufficient incentives for building owners to upgrade the efficiency of their appliances, equipment, and buildings.
            States and localities, according to the report, should "ensure that landlords and owners of multi-family housing make retrofits and keep their tenants"; "invest in energy-efficient technology by allocating their own grants and other monetary incentives to local companies and communities"; and "strengthen and regularly upgrade building codes to ensure that newly constructed buildings are energy-efficient."
                'For the sake of our planet and economy,' the report concludes, 'energy efficiency must be a national and regional priority in the United States.'
                This post has been updated with the proposed annual investment from a newer version of the report.
                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

                Steve Terrell, "Energy bill’s passage portends end of coal era in NM," New Mexico Political Report, March 13m 2019,, reported, "The Legislature has moved to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk a controversial bill designed to dramatically increase the amount of renewable energy used to produce electricity in New Mexico while also helping the Public Service Company of New Mexico recoup its investments in the coal-burning San Juan Generating Station near Farmington [from the shutdown of that electric generating station].
                "How PNM’s electrical rates will be affected was a major point of contention during debates over the bill in the Legislature. Advocates said monthly bills will go down because the bill allows the utility to issue new bonds to pay off those issued for the San Juan power plant and the new bonds will be financed at lower interest rates. However, opponents argued ratepayers will end up paying more."
                "The bill calls for a 50 percent renewable energy portfolio standard in the state by 2030, with a goal of 80 percent by 2040."                 Steve Terrell, "Energy bill’s passage portends end of coal era in NM," New Mexico Political Report, March 13m 2019,, reported, "The Legislature has moved to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk a controversial bill designed to dramatically increase the amount of renewable energy used to produce electricity in New Mexico while also helping the Public Service Company of New Mexico recoup its investments in the coal-burning San Juan Generating Station near Farmington [from the shutdown of that electric generating station].
                "How PNM’s electrical rates will be affected was a major point of contention during debates over the bill in the Legislature. Advocates said monthly bills will go down because the bill allows the utility to issue new bonds to pay off those issued for the San Juan power plant and the new bonds will be financed at lower interest rates. However, opponents argued ratepayers will end up paying more."
                "The bill calls for a 50 percent renewable energy portfolio standard in the state by 2030, with a goal of 80 percent by 2040." The governor has favored the bill and was expected to sign it.

                Juan Cole, "5% of Scotland’s Electricity Now Green; & All Cars Electric by 2032," Informed Comment, March 30, 2019,, reported, "Scotland added ( another 6% of green energy in 2018, so that nearly 75% of its annual gross electricity consumption came from renewables, chiefly wind, solar and hydro. Scotland’s population is 5.4 million."
                Looking ahead, Scotland is engaged in research and development ( on wave and tidal energy, which has the advantage over wind and solar of being constant. Scotland also is planning to phase out  gasoline-driven cars by 2032, with such policies as building car parks to charge electric vehicles.
                Meanwhile, Britain has been moving to obtain 30% of its electricity from wind by 2030.

                Somini Sengupta, "Copenhagen Wants to Show How Cities Can Fight Climate Change, March 25, 2019,, 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."

                The not so green side of green energy is illuminated in, Lauren Villagran, "In hot water: The dangerous side of a renewable energy project," Searchlight New Mexico, March 26, 2019, In reporting the serious water polluting aspect of a geothermal energy project that was not properly limited, it is pointed out, "The dark side of renewable energy is that every form of production carries its own environmental baggage. Without an ecological review, wind farms can put native and migratory birds at risk. Solar farms can interrupt ecosystems by fencing off and shading swaths of desert acreage. And geothermal energy, which has some advantages over wind and solar, can jeopardize freshwater resources."
                Thus it is critical in every case of attempting to do something positive, to take the negative into account, properly considering the particulars of the particular location. To make something function well, one has to know what to do (and not to do) where and when, and to properly and sufficiently control the negative effects that always occur.

                "Where Glaciers Melt Away, Switzerland Sees Opportunity," The New York Times, February 14, 2018,, reported, "The Trift is a casualty of climate change, one of tens of thousands of glaciers around the world that are shrinking as the earth warms. Melting glaciers are adding to rising sea levels and causing floods, and will eventually mean less water for drinking and agriculture.
                But glacial retreat will also have an impact on hydropower, as glaciers shrink to the point where meltwater flows start to decline." For some time hydropower will increase, but eventually, it will decline to very low levels. Currently, 16 percent of the world's electricity is hydroelectric, in Switzerland it is 60 percent.
                "In Switzerland, where the Alps are warming faster than the global average, most of the country’s 1,500 glaciers have retreated every year since 2001; many are expected to all but vanish by 2090. The great melting was especially bad in 2017, when 20 monitored Swiss glaciers lost about 3 percent of their volume because of a dry winter and an extremely hot summer. Last year was bad as well, according to Glacier Monitoring in Switzerland, which tracks changes."

            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

                Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, "These Countries Have Prices
on Carbon. Are They Working?" The New York Times,
 April 2, 2019,, reported, "The idea of putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions to help tackle climate change has been slowly spreading around the globe over the past two decades.
                This week, Canada’s federal government took the latest step when it extended its carbon-pricing program nationwide by imposing a tax on fossil fuels in four provinces that had declined to write their own climate plans.
                More than 40 governments worldwide have now adopted some sort of price on carbon, either through direct taxes on fossil fuels or through cap-and-trade programs. In Britain, coal use plummeted after the introduction of a carbon tax in 2013. In the Northeastern United States, nine states have set a cap on emissions from the power sector and require companies to buy tradable pollution permits.
                Economists have long suggested that raising the cost of burning coal, oil and gas can be a cost-effective way to curb emissions. But, in practice, most countries have found it politically difficult to set prices that are high enough to spur truly deep reductions. Many carbon pricing programs today are fairly modest. In France and Australia, efforts to increase carbon taxes were shelved after a backlash from voters angry about rising energy prices.
            Partly for that reason, carbon pricing has, so far, played only a supporting role in efforts to mitigate global warming." For some efforts to date, go to:

            Megan Geuss, "MIT says we’re overlooking a near-term solution to diesel trucking emissions: All-electric semis may take too long to get on the road, researchers say, ARS Technica, April 11, 2019,, reported, "Transportation is one of the major causes of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, and medium- and heavy-duty trucks account for about a quarter of all transportation-related emissions. At present, semis and other long-haul trucks are mostly diesel-powered, so they emit nitrogen oxides and particulates that aren't just bad for the climate; they're bad for human health as well.
                Tesla made a splash in 2017 when it introduced its all-electric semi truck, and announcements from other trucking companies followed. Daimler sold small electric delivery trucks and has an electric Cascadia in development, Nikola announced a hydrogen-powered fuel cell truck, and Siemens debuted a catenary system for freight. Yet two years later, trucking in the US is still driven by diesel-fueled, compression-ignition (CI), internal combustion engines.
                Daniel Cohn and Leslie Bromberg, a pair of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), published a paper with the Society of Automotive Engineers, suggesting that the best way forward is not to wait for all-electric or hydrogen-powered semis, but to build a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) truck with an internal combustion engine/generator that can burn either gasoline or renewable ethanol or methanol."

                Climate Change reducing rainfall combined with population growth are moving England toward severe water shortages in many parts of the country by 2040 or 2050 (Iliana Magra, "For Britain, Water, Water Everywhere, Nor...," The New York Times, March 20, 2019).

                Jonathan Blitzer, "How Climate Change Is Fuelling the U.S. Border Crisis: In the western highlands of Guatemala, the question is no longer whether someone will leave but when," The New Yorker, April 3, 2019 (?),, reported, "In February, citing a 'national-security crisis on our southern border,' Donald Trump declared a state of emergency, a measure that even members of Congress from his own party rejected. Three months earlier, with much less fanfare, thirteen federal agencies issued a landmark report about the damage wrought by climate change. In a sixteen-hundred-page analysis, government scientists described wildfires in California, the collapse of infrastructure in the South, crop shortages in the Midwest, and catastrophic flooding. The President publicly dismissed the findings. 'As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it,' he said. There was a deeper layer of denial in this, since overlooking these effects meant turning a blind eye to one of the major forces driving migration to the border. 'There are always a lot of reasons why people migrate,' Yarsinio Palacios, an expert on forestry in Guatemala, told me. “Maybe a family member is sick. Maybe they are trying to make up for losses from the previous year. But in every situation, it has something to do with climate change.”
                The western highlands, which extend from Antigua to the Mexican border, cover roughly twenty per cent of Guatemala and contain a large share of the country’s three hundred microclimates, ranging from dank, tropical locales near the Pacific Coast to the arid, alpine reaches of the department of Huehuetenango. The population in the highlands is mostly indigenous, and people’s livelihoods are almost exclusively agrarian. The malnutrition rate, which hovers around sixty-five per cent, is among the highest in the Western Hemisphere. In 2014, a group of agronomists and scientists, working on an initiative called Climate, Nature, and Communities of Guatemala, produced a report that cautioned lawmakers about the region’s susceptibility to a new threat. The highlands, they wrote, 'was the most vulnerable area in the country to climate change.'
                In the years before the report was published, three hurricanes had caused damage that cost more than the previous four decades’ worth of public and private investment in the national economy. Extreme-weather events were just the most obvious climate-related calamities. There were increasingly wide fluctuations in temperature—unexpected surges in heat followed by morning frosts—and unpredictable rainfall. Almost half a year’s worth of precipitation might fall in a single week, which would flood the soil and destroy crops. Grain and vegetable harvests that once produced enough food to feed a family for close to a year now lasted less than five months. 'Inattention to these issues,' the report’s authors wrote, can drive 'more migration to the United States' and 'put at grave risk the already deteriorating viability of the country.'
                Guatemalan migration to the U.S., which had been steady since the late nineteen-seventies, has spiked in recent years. In 2018, fifty thousand families were apprehended at the border—twice as many as the year before. Within the first five months of the current fiscal year, sixty-six thousand families were arrested. The number of unaccompanied children has also increased: American authorities recorded twenty-two thousand children from Guatemala last year, more than those from El Salvador and Honduras combined. Much of this migration has come from the western highlands, which receives not only some of the highest rates of remittances per capita but also the greatest number of deportees. Of the ninety-four thousand immigrants deported to Guatemala from the U.S. and Mexico last year, about half came from this region."

            Sandra E. Garcia, "Seattle Hit by Unusually Heavy Snowfall Moving Across Pacific," The New York Times, February 9, 2019,, 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."

            Mitch Smith and Adeel Hassan, "Snow in Forecast for a 2,500-Mile Path From California to Maine: You thought spring was on the horizon, didn't you?," The New York Times, March 1, 2019,, 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. Alan Blinder, Jack Healy and Matt Stevens, "Across Alabama, ‘There Wasn’t Even Time to Be Afraid’: 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."

                Radio reports on a number of days in March 2019 indicate that in this year of large winter storms, sometimes record amounts of snow followed by extreme cold were continuing in the Midwest and Eastern U.S. As of March 17, the huge amounts of snow in the Northern Midwest were melting, with many rivers already at or over flood stage, threatening great flooding, increasing as the rising waters converge going South into the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The floods began as the next large storm hit.
                 Andrea Germanos, "'Off the Charts': Catastrophic Flooding Wallops Midwest: A 'bomb cyclone' storm along with warm temperatures contributed to still-unfolding disaster," Common Dreams, March 18, 2019,, reported, "Nebraska residents are bracing for more record-breaking river levels as major flooding continues to affect portions of the Midwest.
            The still-unfolding catastrophe caused at least three known deaths across the region.
                The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said Sunday that 17 locations across the state had been hit by record flooding, and more records could be broken over the next two days. Flooding in some areas may continue until next weekend, the agency added.
                'Major to historic river flooding is expected to continue across parts of the Missouri and Mississippi River Basins," the National Weather Service warned Monday, 'due to rapid snow melt the past few days.'
                Suggesting the still-unfolding catastrophe is a sign of a 'hot new world,' climate activist and author Bill McKibben tweeted, 'The Midwest flooding is off the charts—at places in Nebraska, the Missouri is four feet higher than it's ever been before."
                Copernicus, the European Union's Earth Observation Program, captured images of the flooding in the Cornhusker State, and said its magnitude was 'biblical':
                'This really is the most devastating flooding we've probably ever had in our state's history, from the standpoint of how widespread it is," Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts saidMonday.
                While Nebraska may be the most intensely affected at the moment, it is far from the only state hit by flooding. Iowa and Wisconsin also declared states of emergency as a result of of major flooding, and the graphics below show others in the Missouri and Mississippi River Basins that are facing rising waters:
                The Weather Channel attributed the flooding to 'a perfect storm of meteorological factors' including a 'bomb cyclone' storm that brought snow and rain.
                Meteorologist Jeff Masters broke down the details last week:
                The heavy rains from the bomb cyclone were accompanied by very warm temperatures which melted a snowpack of 5-13" of snow. The snowpack had a high liquid water content—equivalent to an extra 1-3" of rain falling—since the snow had been accumulating and compacting since early February. When Wednesday's warm temperatures in the 50s and 60s and heavy rain melted the snow, the runoff flowed very quickly into the rivers, because the frozen ground was unable to absorb much water to slow things down. Many of the flooding rivers had thick ice covering them, due to the long stretch of cold weather the Midwest endured this winter. When the huge pulse of floodwaters entered the rivers, this caused the ice to break up and create ice jams, which blocked the flow of the rivers, causing additional flooding.
                'Throughout Nebraska and the Midwest, our friends are dealing with the worst flooding in half a century,' Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)  said in tweet over the weekend. 'We must provide immediate help to those suffering. Long-term, we must take bold steps to stop climate change, which makes extreme flooding much worse.'
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

            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 (Mitch Smith, Jack Healy and Timothy Williams, "‘It’s Probably Over for Us’: Record Flooding Pummels Midwest When Farmers Can Least Afford It," The New York Times, March 18, 2019,

                Anna Schaverien, "Britain Experiences Summer Temperatures on Hottest Winter Day," The New York Times, February 26, 2019,, reported, "Two days of unseasonable sunshine in Britain this week have resulted in more than the shedding of hats, scarves and winter coats: They have also brought the highest temperatures ever recorded in the country in winter.
                Temperatures peaked on Tuesday at 21.2 degrees Celsius (70.16 Fahrenheit) in Kew Gardens, London, the hottest February day in Britain since records began in 1910, according to the Met Office, the national meteorological service."
                Anna Schaverien, "Wildfires Rage in Britain After Record Temperatures: Firefighters tackled blazes in some of the country’s most beloved nature spots, including the woodland that inspired the Hundred Acre Wood of the 'Winnie the Pooh' novels," The New York Times, February 27, 2019,, reported, "On the same day that Britain experienced record winter temperatures, wildfires broke out at some of the nation’s most beloved nature spots."

                Megan Specia, "Flooding Displaces Tens of Thousands in Iran. And More Rain Is Forecast, The New York Times, April 6, 2019,, reported, "Nationwide floods in Iran have displaced tens of thousands of people and left dozens dead in the past two weeks. More rain is forecast in the coming days.
            Heavy rain began in mid-March in the northeastern province of Golestan, which received 70 percent of its average annual rainfall in one day. The flooding has steadily spread across the nation, inundating communities in at least 26 of Iran’s 31 provinces."

                Muktita Suhartono and Richard C. Paddock, "Flash Flooding in Indonesia Kills at Least 50," The New York Times, March 17, 2019,," Reported, that very heavy rains caused, "Flash flooding in the Indonesian province of Papua killed at least 50 people and injured 59 near the provincial capital, Jayapura, disaster officials said Sunday.
                The number of victims is expected to rise as rescuers search for survivors in the town of Sentani, which was hit by the flood Saturday evening."

·         Manuela Andreoni, "Rio de Janeiro Storm Kills 6, Turning Roads Into Rivers and Burying Bus in Mud," The New York Times, February 7, 2019,, reported, "A[n unusually] powerful summer storm swept through Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday night, leaving at least six people dead, as streets turned into rivers and mudslides destroyed homes and buried a bus, where two of the dead were found."

                Manuela Andreoni, "‘It’s Complete Chaos’: Storm Frees Gators in Rio Favela Where Officials Won’t Go," The New York Times, April 10, 2019,, reported, "The storm that swept through Rio de Janeiro this week left a wreck in its wake: A landslide swallowed homes, floodwaters rose up in hospitals and power lines collapsed as streets turned into roaring rivers.
            Then came the alligators — or, more precisely, their South American cousins, the caimans.
                The storm knocked down the walls of a caiman farm in a neighborhood, or favela, that is controlled, like others in Rio de Janeiro, by a heavily armed criminal paramilitary group. This made the local authorities reluctant to enter — and left the creatures, which can grow to be 11 feet long, to swim through the flooded streets, terrifying residents."

                As an usually large (up until now) hurricane created tremendous damage and considerable death as it roared across three countries in Southern Africa, in mid-March, 2019: Jessica Corbett, "'Everything Is Destroyed': 90% of Mozambique Port City Wrecked by Tropical Cyclone Idai: 'The people who've done the least to change the climate suffer the most.'" Common Dreams, Monday, March 18, 2019,, reported, "Hundreds of people were killed and many more remain missing after a tropical cyclone destroyed 90 percent of the port city of Beira, Mozambique, before moving on to Malawi and Zimbabwe—eliciting fresh demands for bolder efforts to battle the climate crisis that is making extreme weather more common and devastating.
            An initial assessment from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Monday found that 90 percent of the city and the surrounding area 'is completely destroyed' after experiencing a direct hit from Cyclone Idai last Thursday.
                'The situation is terrible. The scale of devastation is enormous,' said Jamie LeSueur, who is leading the IFRC team into Beira. 'Communication lines have been completely cut and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible.'
                'I think this is the biggest natural disaster Mozambique has ever faced,' Celso Correia, the country's environment minister, told the South Africa-based Mail & Guardian. 'Everything is destroyed. Our priority now is to save human lives.'
                Citing the Red Cross and government officials, The Associated Press reported Monday that across the three African countries, 'more than 215 people have been killed by the storm, hundreds more are missing, and more than 1.5 million people have been affected by the widespread destruction and flooding.'
                However, LeSueur noted, aid workers and government officials are still working to access the damage: 'Beira has been severely battered. But we are also hearing that the situation outside the city could be even worse. [Sunday], a large dam burst and cut off the last road to the city.'
                Speaking to state-owned Radio Mozambique on Monday, President Filipe Nyusi said the death toll may surpass 1,000 people in his country alone.
                As aerial footage began to circulate online Monday, the emerging sense of devastation provoked calls for the world to 'wake up' to the reality of the global climate crisis:
                Bill McKibben, co-founder of the environmental group, tweeted a reminder on Monday that 'the people who've done the least to change the climate suffer the most.'
An editorial published Monday by Zimbabwe's state-owned daily newspaper, The Herald, called the storm a 'wake-up call to climate change.' As the editorial reads:
                The increase in cyclones and other extreme weather phenomena like droughts and floods, clearly indicate that climate change effects are intensifying... While we cannot completely stop climate change, there is much the government can do to adapt to the weather phenomenon. After all the tumult surrounding Cyclone Idai dies down, it will be critical for government to have a re-look at the adaptive strategies to climate change which it has put in place.
                While recognizing that in the short term, 'there is urgent need for medicines, shelter, food, and new homes for the survivors of Cyclone Idai,' the editorial calls for a long-term 'holistic approach to fighting the effects of climate change and ensure that communities are cushioned even in the event of devastating cyclones.'
                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

            Again, Norimitsu Onishi and Kimon de Greef, Cyclone Kenneth Pounds Mozambique, Killing at Least 5," The New York Times,                 April 28, 2019,, 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.

                Many roads were washed out, and aid officials said they had been able to reach some badly affected areas only by helicopter."

                The, until recently unprecedented, many days of brushfire causing heat that grilled Australia in its summer were followed by days of torrential rain, bringing serious flooding in Northern Australia. From January 26 to February 4, a record almost four feet of rain fell in Townsville in Queensland, equivalent to a normal year's rainfall (Livia Albeck-Ripka, "In Australia, Relentless Rains Force Hundreds to Evacuate," The New York Times, February 5, 2019).

                Coral Davenport, "Trump’s Order to Open Arctic Waters to Oil Drilling Was Unlawful, Federal Judge Finds," The New York Times, March 30, 2019,, reported, "In a major legal blow to President Trump’s push to expand offshore oil and gas development, a federal judge ruled that an executive order by Mr. Trump that lifted an Obama-era ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast was unlawful."
                The decision, by Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the United States District Court for the District of Alaska, concluded late Friday that President Barack Obama’s 2015 and 2016 withdrawal from drilling of about 120 million acres of Arctic Ocean and about 3.8 million acres in the Atlantic 'will remain in full force and effect unless and until revoked by Congress.' She wrote that an April 2017 executive order by Mr. Trump revoking the drilling ban 'is unlawful, as it exceeded the president’s authority.'”

                Andrea Germanos, "Snubbing Law and Climate, Trump Issues New Permit for Keystone XL: Trump 'can huff and puff all he wants: this pipeline isn't getting built," Common Dreams, March 29, 2019,, reported, "President Donald Trump issued on Friday a new presidential permit to allow for construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
                'This is a ridiculous attempt by Trump to skirt due process to benefit an oil corporation,' said executive director May Boeve in a statement.
                The permit states that pipeline company TransCanada has the authority 'to construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the international border of the United States and Canada at Phillips County, Montana, for the import of oil from Canada to the United States.' Trump added that the permit he issued for the pipeline on March 23, 2017 was revoked.
                'That permit,' as The Hill reported, 'was invalidated by a Montana federal judge in November. The ruling is being appealed in the 9th Circuit'."

                Julia Conley, "'Shame on Trudeau': Anger Stirred as Canada's Energy Board Approves Trans Mountain Pipeline: 'We have a duty to protect what we've all been blessed with in British Columbia in regard to the pristine beauty of the environment,' said one First Nations leader. 'We will rise to the challenge,'" Common Dreams, February 22, 2019,, reported, "Indigenous tribes and green campaigners were angered but not surprised Friday when Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) recommended that the government move ahead with its planned expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline—despite acknowledging that the project will negatively affect the environment.
The decision paved the way for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's administration to increase fossil fuel emissions, endanger wildlife, and threaten the lives and livelihoods of the eight million people who live in the pipeline's path.
                The NEB argued that the pipeline is in the public interest and provided the government with a list of 16 conditions that it must meet as it prepares to expand the 1,150 kilometer (714 mile) pipeline, tripling the amount of oil the tar sands pipeline will carry from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia—but critics including Burnaby mayor Mike Hurley argued that the NEB has no intention of protecting the environment or wildlife by enforcing strict regulations on the construction.
                The conditions will not 'prevent significant public safety risks and harms to marine life and other environmental impacts,' Hurley told the Vancouver Sun."

                The Utah Lands Trust Administration, in spring 2019, dropped plans to lease some 5700 acres of Bears Ears National Monument, after pressure from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration ("Utah Lands Trust Administration Backs Off Plan for New Leasing in Bears Ears," Redrock Wilderness, Spring 2019).

                The Trump Administration, in March 2019, loosened the rule protecting sage grouse habitat in 10 western states, allowing oil and gas extraction in previously excluded nine million acres (Coral Davenport, "Grouse Habitat Is Opened for Oil and Gas Production," The New York Times," March 16, 2019).

                The U.S. Department of the Interior, in early February 2019, delayed a plan to allow seismic testing for oil and gas across large sections of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska (Henry Fountain, "Interior Dept. Postpones Testing for Oil Reserve in Arctic Wildlife Refuge," The New York Times," February 8, 2019).

                China has undertaken large scale fracking for oil and gas drilling, as has the United States, bringing all the same problems including polluting water and earthquakes. In February 2019 fracking caused earthquakes in Sichuan Province, producing serious damage and destruction, including of homes, triggering large local protests (Steven Lee Myers, "China Experiences a Fracking Boom, and All the Problems That Go With It," The New York Times, March 8, 2019,

                Jacqueline Williams, "Oil Spill Threatens a Treasured Coral Atoll in the South Pacific," The New York Times, March 6, 2019,, "An oil spill from a cargo ship that ran aground near a World Heritage site in the South Pacific is spreading, alarming environmentalists and government officials about the threat to the delicate local ecosystem and to people living there.
                The Hong Kong-flagged ship, Solomon Trader, was carrying more than 770 tons of heavy fuel oil when it ran aground last month on Rennell Island, one of the Solomon Islands, which Unesco says is the largest raised coral atoll in the world. The ship is leaking just outside the boundaries of the World Heritage site, called East Rennell."

                Sue Sturgis, "The South Pays Dearly for Nuclear Industry's Failed 'Renaissance:' The estimated cost for the project below doubled and now stands at $27 billion, which Georgia Power customers are already paying for thanks to a state law — since overturned — that allowed utilities to collect payment before a project is completed," Portside, April 20, 2019,, reported, "In the decade after the meltdown at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, which took place 40 years ago this week, number of nuclear plant orders that U.S. utilities canceled nationwide amid skyrocketing costs: about 100.
In today's dollars, estimated amount those abandoned plants cost taxpayers and ratepayers: over $40 billion.
                Amount ratepayers shouldered in cost overruns alone for the approximately 100 nuclear power plants built around that time: over $200 billion."
                "Between 2007 and 2009, number of applications for new reactor construction projects submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by utility companies: 18.
Of those proposed projects, number that were in the South, where electricity markets are dominated by the monopoly utility model with guaranteed profits, and where some states allow utilities to force customers to pay in advance for construction projects: 13.
                Of the 18 proposed reactor projects, number that are still proceeding today, with others canceled amid skyrocketing costs driven in part by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan: 1.
                Amount Duke Energy wants to charge its South Carolina customers for a decade of planning for two reactors that were never built at its Lee plant in Cherokee County: $240 million.
            Amount Florida Power & Light has already charged Florida ratepayers for two new proposed reactors at its Turkey Point plant in Miami-Dade County, construction of which is on hold and may never resume: over $300 million.
            Amount South Carolina ratepayers must pay for SCE&G's and Santee Cooper's now-canceled project involving construction of two new reactors at the Summer plant in Fairfield County: $2.3 billion.
            Number of powerful 5 kilowatt home solar electric systems that could be installed with $2.3 billion: more than 65,000.
            Initial cost estimate for the one commercial nuclear project that's still proceeding, Georgia Power's construction of two reactors at Plant Vogtle in Burke County: $14 billion.
Current cost estimate for the Vogtle project, now set to finish in 2022: over $27 billion.
                Because of Georgia's nuclear prepayment law, approximate amount the Vogtle project has already added to the average annual Georgia Power electricity bill: $120."

                Julie Turkewitz, Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water Leave Military Families Reeling," The New York Times, February 22, 2019,, reported, "the Defense Department has admitted that it allowed a firefighting foam to slip into at least 55 drinking water systems at military bases around the globe, sometimes for generations. This exposed tens of thousands of Americans, possibly many more, to per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of man-made chemicals known as PFAS that have been linked to cancers, immune suppression and other serious health problems.
                Though the presence of the chemicals has been known for years, an announcement last week from the Environmental Protection Agency for the first time promised regulatory action, a significant acknowledgment of the startling scope of the problem that drew outrage from veterans and others living in contaminated communities.
                Acting administrator Andrew Wheeler said that the agency would begin the process of potentially limiting the presence of two of the compounds in drinking water, calling this a 'pivotal moment in the history of the agency.'
                The admission drew some praise, but many said that it was not enough and that millions of people would keep ingesting the substances while a regulatory process plods along."    
                "While the military has used the chemicals extensively, it is far from the only entity to do so, and in recent years, companies like DuPont have come under fire for leaching PFAS into water systems.
            All told, 10 million people could be drinking water laced with high levels of PFAS, according to Patrick Breysse, a top official at the federal Centers for Disease Control. Mr. Breysse has called the presence of the chemicals 'one of the most seminal public health challenges' of the coming decades."

                Steven Lee Myers, "China’s Voracious Appetite for Timber Stokes Fury in Russia and Beyond: After sharply restricting logging in its own forests, China turned to imports, overwhelming even a country with abundant resources: Russia," The New York Times, April 9, 2019,, reported, "From the Altai Mountains to the Pacific Coast, logging is ravaging Russia’s vast forests, leaving behind swathes of scarred earth studded with dying stumps."
                "Since China began restricting commercial logging in its own natural forests two decades ago, it has increasingly turned to Russia, importing huge amounts of wood in 2017 to satisfy the voracious appetite of its construction companies and furniture manufacturers.
                'In Siberia, people understand they need the forests to survive,' said Eugene Simonov, an environmentalist who has studied the impact of commercial logging in Russia’s Far East. 'And they know their forests are now being stolen.'
                Russia has been a witting collaborator, too, selling Chinese companies logging rights at low cost and, critics say, turning a blind eye to logging beyond what is legally allowed."

                A study published in Nature, April 3, 2019, showed that with global warming, not only are the increased heat waves destroying coral, but also limiting the coral's ability to recover and regenerate after a heat wave subsides. This is bringing changes in the ecosystem supported by the coral reef (Livia Albeck-Ripka, "The Great Barrier Reef Was Seen as ‘Too Big to Fail.’ A Study Suggests It Isn’t.," The New York Times, April 3, 2019, Here is the finding of the study:
                Terry P. Hughes, James T. Kerry, Andrew H. Baird, Sean R. Connolly, Tory J. Chase, Andreas Dietzel, Tessa Hill, Andrew S. Hoey, Mia O. Hoogenboom, Mizue Jacobson, Ailsa Kerswell, Joshua S. Madin, Abbie Mieog, Allison S. Paley, Morgan S. Pratchett, Gergely Torda and Rachael M. Woods, "Global warming impairs stock recruitment dynamics of corals," Nature, April 3, 2019, Global warming impairs stock–recruitment dynamics of corals, found, "Abstract: Changes in disturbance regimes due to climate change are increasingly challenging the capacity of ecosystems to absorb recurrent shocks and reassemble afterwards, escalating the risk of widespread ecological collapse of current ecosystems and the emergence of novel assemblages1,2,3. In marine systems, the production of larvae and recruitment of functionally important species are fundamental processes for rebuilding depleted adult populations, maintaining resilience and avoiding regime shifts in the face of rising environmental pressures4,5. Here we document a regional-scale shift in stock–recruitment relationships of corals along the Great Barrier Reef—the world’s largest coral reef system—following unprecedented back-to-back mass bleaching events caused by global warming. As a consequence of mass mortality of adult brood stock in 2016 and 2017 owing to heat stress6, the amount of larval recruitment declined in 2018 by 89% compared to historical levels. For the first time, brooding pocilloporids replaced spawning acroporids as the dominant taxon in the depleted recruitment pool. The collapse in stock–recruitment relationships indicates that the low resistance of adult brood stocks to repeated episodes of coral bleaching is inexorably tied to an impaired capacity for recovery, which highlights the multifaceted processes that underlie the global decline of coral reefs. The extent to which the Great Barrier Reef will be able to recover from the collapse in stock–recruitment relationships remains uncertain, given the projected increased frequency of extreme climate events over the next two decades7."

                With Lake Erie suffering a number of serious environmental problems, the City of Toledo, OH has a ballot measure, which if passed - and upheld by the courts - would give the lake the rights of a person, allowing people to sue on its behalf. This is one of an increasing number of such attempts to give personhood to natural entities, to allow paw suits to be brought for harms to them.  Timothy Williams, "Legal Rights for Lake Erie? Voters in Ohio City Will Decide, The New York Times, February 17, 2019,, reported "The peculiar ballot question comes amid a string of environmental calamities at the lake — poisonous algal blooms in summer, runoff containing fertilizer and animal manure, and a constant threat from invasive fish. But this special election is not merely symbolic. It is legal strategy: If the lake gets legal rights, the theory goes, people can sue polluters on its behalf."
                 Julia Conley, In 'Historic Vote,' Ohio City Residents Grant Lake Erie Legal Rights of a Person: 'What Toledo voters and other places working on rights of nature are hoping is to not only change laws but to change culture,'" Common Dreams, February 27, 2019,, reported, "Tired of receiving notices warning that their drinking water may have been compromised and having little recourse to fight corporate polluters, voters in Toledo, Ohio on Tuesday approved a measure granting Lake Erie some of the same legal rights as a human being.
                Sixty-one percent of voters in Tuesday's special election voted in favor of Lake Erie's Bill of Rights, which allows residents to take legal action against entities that violate the lake's rights to "flourish and naturally evolve" without interference."

                Plastic in the ocean is becoming increasingly, and too often, a deadly problem for sea life.  Daniel Victor, "Dead Whale Found With 88 Pounds of Plastic Inside Body in the Philippines," The New York Times, March 18, 2019,, reported, "A beached whale found in the Philippines on Saturday died with 88 pounds of plastic trash inside its body, an unusually large amount even by the grim standards of what is a common threat to marine wildlife.
                The 1,100-pound whale, measuring 15 feet long, was found in the town of Mabini with plastic bags and a variety of other disposable plastic products inside its stomach. 

                Palkdo Karasz, "Gibraltar Bans Releasing of Helium-Filled Balloons to Protect Marine Wildlife," The New York Times,
March 26, 2019, reported, "For years, 30,000 red and white balloons flooded into the blue sky above Gibraltar each September, symbols of the joy and pride of the small community jutting into the sea as it celebrated its National Day.
                But what goes up must come down — sometimes as a hazard to wildlife — and Gibraltar, the tiny British territory at the southern tip of Spain, has become the latest community to take action by banning the release of helium-filled balloons.
                Antipollution campaigners have long warned coastal communities that these festive accessories pose a deadly threat to marine wildlife once they end their flight in the oceans. In recent years, the authorities on Gibraltar, which stands at the only gateway from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, became aware of the damage the balloons were doing."

                Thom Cole, "More trees dying in New Mexico," Sant Fe New Mexican, March 24, 2019, reported, "Forest mortality increased nearly 50 percent across New Mexico in 2018, the first jump in five years, according to an annual report on the health of the state’s forests.
                More than 120,000 acres of ponderosa pine, spruce, piñon and other trees were lost, said the recently released report.
                Near-record heat and a drought across the state weakened the ability of trees to fight off beetles and other pests, according to John Formby, an entomologist who heads the state forest health program."

                Andrew E. Kramer, "Polar Bears Have Invaded a Russian Outpost, and They’re Hungry," The New York Times, February 11, 2019,, reported on polar bears, hungry because of loss of Arctic ice resulting from global warming, "Dozens of polar bears have laid siege to a small military settlement deep in the Russian Arctic, leaving residents afraid to send their children to school, or even open their front doors.
                The settlement, Belushya Guba, on a finger of land stretching into the Arctic Ocean, has declared a state of emergency as the bears have attacked people, broken into homes, menaced schools and feasted at a local dump."

            Stephen Nash, "Vietnam’s Empty Forests: The Asian nation is a hot spot of biological diversity, but local and international conservation groups are struggling to halt what amounts to animal genocide," The New York Times, April 1, 2019,, reported, "Despite long and tragic wars with the Japanese, the French, the Chinese and the United States during the last century, Vietnam is a treasure house. It is one of the world’s hot spots of biological diversity, according to the science research. There are 30 national parks in a country a bit larger than New Mexico, and about as many kinds of animals as in those pre-eminent safari destinations, Kenya and Tanzania.
                In fact, hundreds of new-to-science species of plants and animals have been discovered in Vietnam during the last three decades, and more are recorded each year."
                However, illegal poaching has been underway for some time in the national parks, often undertaken by park rangers, making Vietnam a major center for world criminal wildlife tracking. That, combined with loss of habitat from an expanding human population has led to huge animal losses. This has reached the point of creating "empty forest syndrome," in which in good wildlife habitat, even small animals and birds are hunted to extinction.

                "Dozens of Countries Have Been Working to Plant ‘Great Green Wall’ – and It’s Holding Back Poverty," Good News Network, March 31, 2019, (Also reported in 31, Leslie Salzillo, Africa is building a wall—a wall of trees across the entire continent and it's changing the world, Daily Kos, March, 2019,, reported, "More than 20 African countries have joined together in an international mission to plant a massive wall of trees running across the continent – and after a little over a decade of work, it has reaped great success.
                The tree-planting project, which has been dubbed The Great Green Wall of Africa, stretches across roughly 6,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) of terrain at the southern edge of the Sahara desert, a region known as the Sahel.
                The region was once a lush oasis of greenery and foliage back in the 1970s, but the combined forces of population growth, unsustainable land management, and climate change turned the area into a barren and degraded swath of land."
            Eleven countries launched the project in 2007, which has since grown to plant the wall of trees across the continent. To lost just a few of the achievements, in Nigeria, 12 million acres of degraded land has been restored in Nigeria. In Senegal, some 30 million acres of drought-resistant trees have been planted. In Ethiopia, 37 million acres of land has been restored.
                The results have included:
"Growing fertile land, one of humanity’s most precious natural assets.
Growing a wall of hope against abject poverty.
Growing food security, for the millions that go hungry every day.
Growing health and wellbeing for the world’s poorest communities.
Growing improved water security, so women and girls don’t have to spend hours everyday fetching water.
Growing gender equity, empowering women with new opportunities.
Growing sustainable energy, powering communities towards a brighter future.
Growing green jobs, giving real incomes to families across the Sahel.
Growing economic opportunities to boost small business and commercial enterprise.
Growing a reason to stay
to help break the cycle of migration."
Growing sustainable consumption patterns,
Growing to protect the natural capital of the Sahel.
Growing resilience to climate change in a region where temperatures are rising faster than anywhere else on Earth.
Growing a symbol of peace in countries where conflict continues to displace communities.
Growing strategic partnerships to  accelerate rural development across Africa."

            Jim Robbins, "Gray Wolves May Lose Endangered Status and Protections: 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,, 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.

                Karen Weintraub, "An Emperor Penguin Colony in Antarctica Vanishes: A colony in Halley Bay lost more than 10,000 chicks in 2016 and hasn’t recovered. Some adults have relocated," The New York Times,                      April 25, 2019,, reported, "The Antarctic’s second-largest colony of emperor penguins collapsed in 2016, with more than 10,000 chicks lost, and the population has not recovered, according to a new study.
                Many of the adults relocated nearby, satellite imagery shows, but the fact that emperor penguins are vulnerable in what had been considered the safest part of their range raises serious long-term concerns, said Phil Trathan, the paper’s co-author and head of conservation biology with the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England."

                Eoin Higgins, "'We Can't Trust the Permafrost Anymore': Doomsday Vault at Risk in Norway, 'Not good," Common Dreams, March 27, 2019,, reported, "Just over a decade after it first opened, the world's 'doomsday vault' of seeds is imperiled by climate change as the polar region where it's located warms faster than any other area on the planet
                The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which opened in late February 2008, was built by the organization Crop Trust and the Norwegian government on the island of Svalbard next to the northernmost town in the world with more than 1,000 residents, Longyearbyen.
                'Svalbard is the ultimate failsafe for biodiversity of crops,' said Crop Trust executive director Marie Haga. 
                Northern temperatures and environment on the island were a major reason for the construction. According to in-depth reporting from CNN, the project planners hoped that the permafrost around the construction of the underground vault would, in time, refreeze. But the planet has other plans. 
                Longyearbyen and, by extension, the vault, is warming more rapidly than the rest of the planet. That's because the polar regions of Earth—the coldest areas on the planet—are less able to reflect sunlight away from the polar seas due to disappearing ice and snow cover. 
It's an ironic turn of events for the creators of the vault, who chose the location for the vault "because the area is not prone to volcanoes or earthquakes, while the Norwegian political system is also extremely stable,'" said CNN.
                Because of the warming, the permafrost around the underground vault's tunnel entrance has not refrozen. That led to leaking water in the tunnel in October 2016, which then froze into ice. 
                In response, CNN reported, "Statsbygg [the Norwegian state agency in charge of real estate] undertook 100 million Norwegian krone ($11.7 million) of reconstruction work, more than double the original cost of the structure."
                But the warming now may become unsustainable for the structure. It's already forcing changes to Longyearbyen's population of 2,144 as the people in the town find themselves scrambling to avoid avalanches and deal with a changing climate that's more often dumping rain rather than snow
                'We can't trust the permafrost anymore,' said Statsbygg communications manager Hege Njaa Aschim.
                British advocacy group Global Citizen was more to the point. 
                'Not good,' the group tweeted.
                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

                The U.S. Senate and the House passed a public lands bill, in early February, that protects a million acres from mining and permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (Coral Davenport, "Senate Passes Bill Creating Huge Tracts of Protected Land," The New York Times, February 13, 2019).


Carrol Muffett*

Republished from Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), February 13, 2019,
                As global temperature rise continues to alter our natural environment with devastating impacts for humanity and biodiversity, the need for urgent action is increasingly clear. But as the climate crisis intensifies, once far-fetched “solutions” are finding their way dangerously closer to the mainstream. 
            Grouped together under the name of “geoengineering,” a variety of earth-altering techniques promise to serve as a “Hail Mary” pass for the health of our planet. From pulling carbon dioxide out of the air, to altering how the sun’s rays reach the earth, these technologies attempt to minimize the effects of climate change after carbon dioxide has already been emitted, instead of stopping those emissions in the first place. Geoengineering offers the alluring (and false) promise that we can continue to rely on fossil fuels while somehow avoiding the catastrophic climate impacts of a fossil economy. 
                Unsurprisingly, fossil fuel companies have been among the most active backers of geoengineering because it allows them to keep pumping more oil, burning more coal, and reaping the profits. 
            For fossil fuel companies, that’s precisely the appeal of geoengineering: the promise and the myth that we can continue business as usual. In reality, these technologies further entrench the fossil fuel industry’s hold on our energy systems, while doing nothing to address the causes of the climate crisis. 
                For example, a process called direct air capture would suck carbon dioxide directly from the air by installing what amounts to huge air filters all around the planet. But it takes a lot of energy to do so (and not necessarily renewable energy). And where does the “recovered” carbon go afterward? Most likely into new diesel and jet fuels, or pumped into the ground to produce more oil, which would then be burned and re-emitted in a continuous loop of expanding carbon emissions. 

                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. 
                The growing urgency of the climate crisis is forcing difficult choices and difficult conversations even among committed climate advocates. The window for avoiding catastrophic climate change is small and closing rapidly. 
                While advocates argue that geoengineering technologies could serve as an insurance policy in case we push ourselves past the point of no return, it could serve to ensure just that: Holding onto the promise of an unproven, possibly disastrous technology could weaken the political will to stop climate change. We cannotstand by and cross our fingers for technological fixes that could create new environmental challenges and make the transition to a low-carbon economy more difficult. 
                But most importantly, we don’t need to. 
            The world already has the tools we need to solve the climate crisis. We can promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, protect and restore natural forests and ocean ecosystems, and respect the rights of indigenous peoples to protect the lands they safeguard. All of these are workable, cost-effective solutions to the climate crisis that we can use right now. The problem is not one of technology, but one of political will. 
            We know how to solve the climate crisis. Geoengineering is not that solution. 

                To learn more, read CIEL’s new report
 Fuel to the Fire: How Geoengineering Threatens to Entrench Fossil Fuels and Accelerate the Climate Crisis,

*Carroll Muffett is President of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).


Stephen M. Sachs*
I agree with Carroll Muffet that many forms of proposed geoengineering, including examples of proposed carbon capture, are likely to be more destructive than helpful, for all the reasons that he cites. Moreover, in banking on them, there is the danger that we will delay doing what can, and must be done now, quickly, on the unsupported assumption that some new scientific or technical development will come along to solve the problem.
At the same time, it is important not to dismiss any and all such technologies out of hand. It may be that there are some that will be helpful in stemming the production of greenhouse gasses, or otherwise combatting global warming induced climate change, without worsening the problem they are trying to solve, or causing other serious problems, or taking huge risks, when we already have good means for solving the problem. Since what needs to be done is huge, and must be accomplished in a quite limited time, any conceivably promising approach ought to be investigated, if the costs of the research and development itself are not too high. And if we do not act swiftly and sufficiently enough with the proven methods we have, then we might need additional tools - but only if they are appropriate ones.
In whatever we do that relates to the environment - and almost everything we do does (and not only to global warming) - the lesson from our current experience is that everything is connected and problems need to be approached holistically, considering all the significant effects - positive and negative primary and secondary - short, medium and long term. This is a lesson that was learned long ago by Indigenous peoples after long careful study. We need to complete our relearning of it quickly.
We need to avoid the errors of narrow approaches - such as the powerful ones that on the on the hand have made western science very successful - but on the other hand have caused serious unintended consequences, including our current environmental crisis: global warming induced climate change, pollution and other forms of degradation of the environment, and overuse of resources. This means taking into account all the likely significant impacts of decisions as possible. But since in most cases that is very complex so that the future cannot be accurately predicted (including that assumed stable conditions may change), it is necessary to regularly review the impacts of decisions, to make necessary adjustments.
Moreover, In the west, we have tended to under estimate the difference in different locations - in time, place and culture. Thus, there has been a tendency to apply good general principles or programs, without adequate consideration of the circumstance to which they are to be applied. This has, and continues to cause, all kinds of failures, including in dealing with the environment. The watchwords of what we need in our approaches is first to see how everything is connected, taking into account the full range of significant effects of such action. Second to continually monitor and review actions, carefully making changes as appropriate. Third, to carefully consider the conditions of any specific application, adopting that application to the needs of that place (including not applying a generally good action where it would be counterproductive to do so), and in each place adjusting for changing conditions on site, and in relation to shifting conditions elsewhere. Doing all of that requires extensive research and analysis. But it is absolutely necessary for everyone's welfare, and in some critical cases, for our survival.
*Stephen M. Sachs is professor emeritus of political science, and IUPUI, Coordinating Editor of NCJ, Senior Editor of Indigenous Policy (IPJ), with a long time focus on environmental issues and other areas of public policy.
Tom Solomon*

                With New Mexico’s Energy Transition Act now leading the country’s shifts towards clean renewable energy, fossil fuel interests and their supporters seek to spread disinformation on the real benefits of renewables. They can’t stand that solar and wind energy is clean, non-polluting, abundant, and now, as the cheapest form of electricity (per Lazard), is out-competing fossil fuel energy on cost. Their latest effort is to point to high electricity costs in California and blame them on that state’s move towards renewable energy. But as we know, “correlation is not causation”. California’s high electricity prices are NOT due to a shift to renewables, but instead are due to their over-reaction to the Enron-caused energy crisis and the rolling blackouts of 2000-2001, caused by Enron’s criminal market manipulations. California’s response to those blackouts was to overbuild gas-fired power plants. And because energy demand has also dropped due to increasing energy efficiency, “Californians are paying billions for power they don't need”. This was the finding of a Feb 5, 2017 LA Times report by that title (1).  

                Whereas many states require an energy capacity cushion of 10% over demand, California regulators responded by requiring a capacity cushion of +15%, and their gas-powered building boom had them on a path towards overbuilding by 21%! Of course their costs were high! 

                Fortunately, California regulators recently came to their senses and in Nov 2018 cancelled three gas-fired power plants proposed by PG&E, instead directing them to build utility scale battery storage, saying it was cheaper (2).
                The fact is that renewable energy requires no fuel, therefore no fuel costs and no pollution. And solar and wind provide peak power at different times of the day and of the year and therefore complement each other. Studies show that significant utility battery storage is not required until renewables reach about 50% of grid power, which for NM is in 2030 (3).
And with battery storage competitive already, and prices dropping 20% per year, per McKinsey (4), it will be available and inexpensive when we need it. 
Renewable energy wins on climate, on health and on cost. Now let’s build it as fast as we can.  
*Tom Solomon works with 350 New Mexico and can be reached at: 505-328-0619.

Peter J. Jacques*
                Life and death for whole communities hang in the balance of achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that include eliminating poverty, conserving forests, and addressing climate change, passed by the United Nations unanimously in 2015. Take for example, the Indigenous Amazigh people who live in the mountains around Marrakech. They are representative of people who need to be served first by sustainable development.

                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.
*Peter J. Jacques is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL.

Environmental Activities

Compiled by Stephen Sachs
   is more engaged than ever in a variety of activities concerning, "Stop Fossil Fuels. Build 100% Renewables." This includes working for "green new deals" worldwide that stop new, and reduce current, fossil fuel production, while scaling up use of renewable energy to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C., while obtaining environmental justice. are standing up to the fossil fuel industry to stop all          
Some foci in early May 2019 included: supporting the Tores Strait Islanders in bringing a case against the Australian government to cease activities contributing to global warming, the largest of which is permitting and encouraging coal mining, an extraction activity in which Australia leads the world; Supporting and assisting organizing actions in Africa for May 25, 2019, calling for a rapid move to a fossil free future for Africa; and Supporting peaceful resistance to stop the Keystone XL and other oil and gas pipelines.
For details go to:

                "Liberal Democrats Formally Call for a ‘Green New Deal,’ Giving Substance to a Rallying Cry," The New York Times, February 7, 2019,, reported, "Liberal Democrats put flesh on their 'Green New Deal' slogan on Thursday with a sweeping resolution intended to redefine the national debate on climate change by calling for the United States to eliminate additional emissions of carbon by 2030." The initial draft is more of a broad blueprint than a detailed plan, and is intended to be a beginning of developing specific plans by changing the political debate.
                The resolution draft is available at:

                Isra Hirsi, US Youth Climate Strike, stated via E-mail, March 6, 2019," We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: climate change is one of the defining issues of our time
                It’s going to take bold action to bring about bold solutions to this crisis, and we’re not afraid to show our elected officials that we mean business. On March 15th, youth in the US will join thousands of youth across the globe striking from school for climate action. And we need your support. 
                Decades of climate inaction has left the most marginalized communities exposed to the threats of the climate crisis. As this crisis gets exponentially worse, my generation will face extreme impacts like worsening storms, and will be left to clean up the mess we’ve created.
                Youth across America will strike in pursuit of a bold set of demands that include a Green New Deal, a fair and just transition to 100% renewable energy, and no new fossil fuel infrastructure
Youth across the world are taking power into their own hands. Are you with us?"

                Act on Climate reported,, reported via Email, March 15, 2019, "One of the largest climate change strikes in the world is happening!
                Climate change is a global, existential threat. This climate strike, organized by and ran by STUDENTS, is taking place in more than 100 U.S. cities and more than 100 countries.
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:
                The latest estimate had it that more than ONE MILLION students, from Brooklyn to Seoul, took to the streets to demand action on climate change.

                Ceylan Yeginsu, "Skipping School to Save the Earth," The New York Times, February 14, 2019, reported, "Thousands of young people in Britain are expected to abandon their classrooms and take to the streets on Friday to join a growing movement to protest the lack of action on climate change.
                Inspired by a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, who cut class on a weekly basis last year to stage sit-ins outside Sweden’s Parliament, young climate campaigners are planning to walk out of British schools, colleges and universities across 40 towns and cities on Friday."

                Jessica Corbett, "Decrying 'Toxic Alliance' of Macron and Polluters, Climate Campaigners Stage One of France's Largest Ever Acts of Civil Disobedience: 'Instead of regulating the activities of these polluting multinationals, Emmanuel Macron is rolling out the red carpet'!" Common Dreams, April 19, 2019,, reported, "Parts of a major business district just outside of Paris city limits were 'paralyzed' Friday when more than 2,000 climate campaigners staged what organizers described as one of France's largest ever acts of civil disobedience.
Peaceful demonstrators descended on La Défense to protest government complicity and companies fueling the global climate crisis.
                Carrying signs that condemned Emmanuel Macron as 'president of polluters,' the protesters blocked access to the buildings of three major businesses and the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition.
                The direct action was organized by Action Non-Violente (ANV) COP21 and the French chapters of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, but members of at least 14 climate groups reportedly joined the mass mobilization.
                'Through this action of extraordinary civil disobedience, the French climate movement denounces the toxic alliance that Emmanuel Macron and his government maintain with the large companies whose activity accelerates climate change, while radical and immediate action is needed to limit global warming to +1.5°C by the end of the century,' organizers said in a statement in French, referencing a key target of the Paris climate accord.
                The demonstration in France came as the climate activism group Extinction Rebellion is spearheading an International Rebellion Week featuring similar civil disobedience in London. The group's French arm supported the action Friday:
                The three companies campaigners targeted were fossil fuel giant Total, a major producer of planet-warming emissions; investment bank Société Générale, which pours billions of dollars into dirty energy projects each year; and Électricité de France (EDF), the state-run electric utility that, according to protest organizers, produces only about 10 percent of renewable energy compared with more than 70 percent of nuclear energy.
"Instead of regulating the activities of these polluting multinationals, Emmanuel Macron is rolling out the red carpet!" said Cécile Marchand of Friends of the Earth France.
                Marchand pointed out that last year, Macron's government gave Total the green light to import palm oil, despite the European Parliament's decision to ban such imports by 2021. She also slammed government investment in nuclear power and failures to block big banks from funding dirty energy development.
                The French president, Marchand said, 'firmly defends banks like Société Générale against any attempt to regulate and refuses to supervise them to put an end to their investments in fossil fuels.'
                'By displaying Emmanuel Macron at La Défense, and blocking the activity of several strategic locations in this business district," said Greenpeace France climate campaign manager Clément Sénéchal, 'we want to show that in reality, it is here that France's climate policy is decided, in the offices of the big bosses.'
                The blockades in France came as students across the globe skipped classes and took to the streets as part of the weekly #FridaysForFuture school strikes—inspired by the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg's solitary protests launched last year to demand bolder efforts from global policymakers to stave off climate catastrophe.
                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

                Yanis Varoufakis and David Adler, published in The Guardian, "It's Time for Nations to Unite Around an International Green New Deal: Several countries have proposed their own versions of a Green New Deal, but climate change knows no borders. We need a global response," Portside, May 8, 2019,", reported that children have now taken the lead in battling climate change and other interrelated environmental degradation, "Our survival now depends on the prospects for a global movement to follow their lead and demand an International Green New Deal.
                Several countries have proposed their own versions of a Green New Deal. Here in Europe, DiEM25 and our European Spring coalition are campaigning under the banner of a detailed Green New Deal agenda. In the UK, a new campaign is pushing similar legislation with MPs such as Caroline Lucas and Clive Lewis. And in the US, dogged activists in the Sunrise Movement are working with representatives such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to push their proposal to the front of the political agenda.
                But these campaigns have largely remained siloed. Their advisers may exchange notes and ideas, but no strategy has emerged to coordinate these campaigns in a broader, global framework."
                "Instead, we need an International Green New Deal: a pragmatic plan to raise $8tn – 5% of global GDP – each year, coordinate its investment in the transition to renewable energy and commit to providing climate protections on the basis of countries’ needs, rather than their means.
                Call it the Organization for Emergency Environmental Cooperation – the namesake of the original OEEC 75 years ago. While many US activists find inspiration in a 'second world war-style mobilization', the International Green New Deal is better modeled by the Marshall plan that followed it. With financial assistance from the US government, 16 countries formed the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), dedicated to rebuilding the infrastructure of a devastated continent and coordinating its supply of energy.
                But if the original OEEC entrenched an extractive capitalism at Europe’s core –protecting the steel and coal cartel – the new organization for an International Green New Deal can empower communities around the world in a single transformational project."

                Ocean River Institute, "Stop the Destruction of Our Waterways & Help Takedown Roundup: Beautiful green lawns can coexist with cleaner water, thriving marine life, and healthier communities," March 25, 2019,, stated, "Please join with us to inform your town or city about the harms of fertilizer pollution on Massachusetts’s waterways.
                Throughout Massachusetts, we are witnessing our bodies of water being polluted with nutrients causing the degradation of water quality and the destruction of wildlife. 
The goal of the Clean Water Project is to stop nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, to restore and preserve healthy waterways. 
                We are calling for regulation of fertilizer on established lawns, for bylaws that limit fertilizer use to no more than a half pound of slow-release nitrogen fertilizer a year ( 
                We are also urging implementation of an education program that explains when grass cuttings are left on the lawn, it amounts to the equivalent of one pound of fertilizer per year. Our goal is for all 351 municipalities in Massachusetts to modify their lawn care practices to have both clean water and healthy lawns that don’t pollute
                Falmouth, MA, has modified their lawn care, reducing greatly fertilizer application in 2012 in response to discovering sixteen striped bass, a horseshoe crab and an unidentified crab dead in Little Pond. (“Poor Water Quality Suspected in Death of Fish at Little Pond,”
                Six years later, Falmouth’s lawns are just as green as in neighboring towns proving that their fertilizer bylaw has not harmed the grass. Here, green lawns coexist with cleaner water and healthy marine life. There has not been another fish kill.
                Let us follow Falmouth’s lead and enact sustainable lawn care laws that stop nitrogen and phosphorus pollution of our waterways and groundwater.
                Please join with us to inform your town or city about the fatal harms of the herbicide Roundup. 
            Roundup is a widely used herbicide that has harmful human health and environmental effects. Glyphosate, the main ingredient of Roundup, is a known carcinogen and has also been linked to hormone disruption and antibiotics resistance. Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper, was recently ordered to receive $289 million from Monsanto (the maker of Roundup) after Johnson developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of using Roundup. While Monsanto is currently appealing this decision, let’s stop using Roundup. 
                Roundup, technically the chemical glyphosate, has been found everywhere! It’s in our environment; it’s in rainwater, streams and on down into the ocean. It’s in the food that we eat, found in soy and other produce. Most alarming is that Roundup is found in people and concentration levels are rising. ("A Weed Killer Is Increasingly Showing Up in People's Bodies,"
                There are alternative herbicides that are much safer and will not bio-accumulate in our bodies. We’ve got a recipe that you may make at home with vinegar, salt and dish soap. Pulling weeds, weed-whacking, and mulching kills weeds faster than herbicides. For more information, check out our page on Roundup Alternatives
                Join us in asking for better lawn care practices."

                Jessica Corbett, "'Radical Agents of Physical and Social Chaos': Campaigners Target Big Banks Over Destructive Fossil Fuel Projects: 'It is simply nuts for banks to keep financing the ongoing destruction of the planet's climate,'" Common Dreams, April 9, 2019,, reported, "Environmental campaigners this week are pressuring a pair of big banks to stop pouring billions of dollars per year into destructive fossil fuel projects that drive the global climate crisis.
                A coalition of more than 100 groups sent a letter(pdf) to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan on Tuesday urging him 'to refrain from any further financing of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and to urge other financiers to do the same.'
If completed, the ACP would carry fracked gas 600 miles across West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. The pipeline is about two years behind schedule and $2 billion over budget, per an investor report released last month by Friends of the Earth and Oil Change International, which both signed the letter.
                'As lead arranger and bookrunner for a loan to Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, and especially as a multinational corporation that calls North Carolina home,' the letter states, 'Bank of America has a special responsibility to drop its support for this reckless project.
                The letter warns that 'the ACP is economically and environmentally irresponsible; raises serious environmental justice, human rights, and climate crisis concerns; and does not build long-term shareholder value for its investors.' It also faces several legal and regulatory hurdles.
                'The pipeline would devastate diverse communities, cultures, ecosystems, and the climate along its route,' said Friends of the Earth senior campaigner Donna Chavis. 'Bank of America will share blame for the environmental disruption caused by this project.'
            Bank of America is one of the top funders of fossil fuel projects, according to the most recent Banking on Climate Change report, published in March. The bank ranked fourth overall and invested more than $33 billion in dirty energy projects in 2018 alone. Its three-year total was more than $106 billion. Citi ranked third, and Wells Fargo second.
                The top funder of fossil fuel projects—JPMorgan Chase, which spent nearly $64 billion last year and over $195 billion since 2016—is also under fire from campaigners this week. Similar to protests held last year, advocacy groups are organizing a national day of action for Wednesday, with #ShutDownChase actions planned at branches in over 20 cities, including New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.
                'We are calling on Chase to stop investing in the fossil fuel corporations that are causing both the devastation of Mother Earth and such huge harms indigenous communities,' said Mazaska Talks founder Rachel Heaton, noting the documented spikes in violence against indigenous women near 'man camps' that service fossil fuel extraction sites.
                'At this late date, it is simply nuts for banks to keep financing the ongoing destruction of the planet's climate,' added co-founder Bill McKibben. 'Bankers are acting as radical agents of physical and social chaos; it's time for them to pull back and pay attention to science and society.'
                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License"

            Oceana, "Oceana Wins Lawsuit to Protect Overfished Dusky Sharks: Judge Rules Trump Administration Must Base Protections on Sound Science, March 14, 2019, stated, "Contact: Amelia Vorpahl: 202-467-1968, 202-476-0632 (cell),  This week, a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration for violating federal law by failing to use all available scientific evidence to end the overfishing of dusky sharks in U.S. waters. The ruling, in response to an Oceana lawsuit filed by Earthjustice, requires the federal government to do more to end the rampant overfishing that has plagued dusky sharks. Dusky shark populations off the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts have plummeted by at least 65 percent in the past two decades as a result of bycatch – the capture of non-target fish and ocean wildlife."

                "The road to extinction is paved with good intentions," Patagonia, April 7, 2019,, stated, "Artifishal [at the above web address], is a film about the high cost of hatcheries, fish farms and human arrogance. We made this film for several reasons. As anglers, we recognize that protecting wild fish is the only way to ensure that fishing will be there for future generations. As taxpayers, we are dismayed at the gross misuse of public money being wasted on a system that not only doesn't work, but actually contributes to the problem it claims to solve. And finally, as concerned residents of our home planet, we view hatcheries and fish farms as part of a disturbing trend to willfully ignore scientific fact for the sake of political expediency.
            Wild salmon and southern resident killer whales are on the brink of extinction. Now a misguided plan to feed the starving whales with hatchery salmon will push both endangered species closer to the edge, while costing taxpayers millions of dollars per year.      
                Hatcheries and over harvest, along with net-pen fish farms and dams, are key contributors to the catastrophic decline of wild Chinook salmon and southern resident killer whales in the Pacific Northwest. Now, Washington state’s Orca Task Force recommendations include a plan to “feed the orcas” with 60 million more hatchery salmon per year. The proposed budget requests up to $87 million dollars to fund this plan for 10 years. Science tells us this won’t work: orcas need larger wild salmon, while adding more hatchery fish further weakens the wild-salmon gene pool.
                The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA) and Department of Fish and Wildlife have the power to make this change.
                It’s time for directors Barry Thom and Kelly Susewind, to listen to their constituents and invest in science-based solutions: reduce hatchery production, remove dams and change how we harvest salmon."

                "Patagonia Stops Co-Branding Clothes for Companies That Harm the Planet," Global Citizen," April 4, 2019,, reported, "The environmentally minded brand is done doing business with "ecologically damaging" industries.
                Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia is done selling co-branded clothes to companies that fail to prioritize the health of the planet.
            The company told BuzzFeed that it will only sell to certified B Corporations, which put social good over profit; companies that have joined the 1% for the Planet pledge, meaning they donate 1% of sales to environmental organizations; and companies with charity arms that help the planet."

                  The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), in addition to dealing with specific issues as they arise, UCS has been heavily focused on countering attacks on science and working to have governmental decisions made on the basis of science. This most particularly involves the environment, but all other areas as well.
                  For more information visit:

Carbon Fund is engaged in a variety of project to limit climate change. Recent reports on them are available at:
A limited partial list

The video, A Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was produced by The Intercept's Naomi Klein, narrated by Ocasio-Cortez, is a short film presented as a look back to the present day from a future in which the Green New Deal passed Congress and reshaped America and the planet for the better. "It is available at:

Summer School in a variety of course with different beginning dated from June through July, include some on alternative dispute resolution and on sustainability  at Central European University, Budapest, Nádor u. 9, 1051 Hungary.  For information go to"
The inaugural Fortune Global Sustainability Forum will be held September 4-6, 2019 on the shores of Fuxian Lake in Yunnan, China. For information go to:
13th International Conference on the Environmental Management of Enclosed Coastal Seas (EMECS 13) is September 7-10, 2020, in Hull, England. For details go to:

The 15th International MEDCOAST Congress on Coastal and Marine Sciences, Engineering, Management & Conservation is in Marmaris, Turkey,  October 22-26 2019. For details go to:,

The Sixteenth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability may be
in January 2020. For details visit:

World Sustainable Development Summit 2020 Sustainability Lessons in the "Global South": Priorities, Opportunities, and Risks is 29–31 January 2020, at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile & University of Chile, Santiago, Chile. For details go to:

World Resources Forum (WRF) may be in February 2020. For information visit:

The 9th International Conference on "Livelihoods, Sustainability and Conflict: Religion, Conflict, and Reconciliation,” may be in March 2020. For more information go to:

The annual workshop of Rising Voices: Collaborative Science with Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Solutions may be in April 2020. For details go to:

The 12th International Conference on Climate: Impacts and Responses: Adaptations: Lessons from Venice is 16–17 April 2020, in Venice, Italy, at Ca' Foscari University of Venice. The Climate Change Conference is for any person with an interest in, and concern for, scientific, policy and strategic perspectives in climate change. It will address a range of critically important themes relating to the vexing question of climate change. Plenary speakers will include some of the world’s leading thinkers in the fields of climatology and environmental science, as well as numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by researchers and practitioners. For details go to: For details visit:

The 9h World Sustainability Forum (WSF2020) will be June 1-6, 2020. The conference will cover areas like the globe, extreme poverty and hunger have been reduced, and infant, child, and maternal mortality have decreased. For details, visit:

13th International Conference on the Environmental Management of Enclosed Coastal Seas (EMECS 12) is September 7, 2020, at University of Hull, Kingston upon Hull, U.K. For details go to:

The video, A Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was produced by The Intercept's Naomi Klein, narrated by Ocasio-Cortez, is a short film presented as a look back to the present day from a future in which the Green New Deal passed Congress and reshaped America and the planet for the better. "It is available at:


UN NGO Climate Change Caucus, with numerous task forces, is at:

On the Frontlines of Climate Change: A global forum for indigenous peoples, small islands and vulnerable communities can be subscribed to at: See postings on the website at: focusses on stopping and mitigating global warming induced climate change:

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is concerned with the proper use of science in decision making, and of using science to prevent public harm in many areas, especially concerning the environment:

The Indigenous Environmental Network works on environmental issues  from an Indigenous point of view:

The League of Conservation voters (LCV) is concerned with environmental issues:

Food & Water Action Fund ( and Food and Water Watch ( work to protect food and water.

Ocean River Institute is a non-profit that provides opportunities to make a difference and go the distance for savvy stewardship of a greener and bluer planet Earth:

Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water:

WildEarth Guardians works to protect and restore wildlife, wild places and wild rivers in the American West:

Nuclear Information and Resource Service focuses on the dangers of nuclear arms and nuclear power:

Earth Policy Institute, dedicated to building a sustainable future as well as providing a plan of how to get from here to there:

Wiser Earth lists more than 10,700 environmental and environmental justice organizations at:

Earthwatch, the world’s largest environmental volunteer organization, founded in 1971, works globally to help the people of the planet volunteer realize a sustainable environment: works internationally on environmental and peace and justice issues:

The Environmental Defense Fund works on environmental issues and policy, primarily in the U.S.:

Earthjustice focuses on environmental issues and action:

The Sierra Club works on environmental issues in the United States:, a coalition of environmental organizations acting politically in the U.S.:

The National Resources Defense Council works on a variety of environmental issues in the U.S.: NR, asd is affiliated with the NRDC Action Fund work

Care 2 is concerned about a variety of issues, including the environment:

Rainmakers Oceania studies possibilities for restoring the natural environment and humanity's rightful place in it, at:

Green Ships, in fall 2008, was is asking Congress to act to speed the development of new energy efficient ships that can take thousands of trucks off Atlantic and Pacific Coast highways, moving freight up and down the costs with far less carbon emissions and more cheaply:

Carbon Fund Blog carries climate change news, links to green blogs, and a green resource list, at: Carbon Fund is certifying carbon free products at:

Grist carries environmental news and commentary:,

Green Inc. is a new blog from The New York Times devoted to energy and the environment at:

Planting Peace is, "A Resource Center for news and activities that seek to build a powerful coalition to bring about cooperation and synergy between the peace movement, the climate crisis movement, and the organic community." Their web site includes extensive links to organizations, articles, videos and books that make the connections, at:, Planting Peace is sponsored by the Organic Consumers Association:

The Global Climate Change Campaign:

The center for defense information now carries regular reports on Global Warming & International Security at: