Tuesday, December 17, 2019


DECEMBER 17, 2019.
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology.

A few years ago the usual reference to a warming world was “climate change.”   Last year “climate catastrophe” or “climate calamity” were gaining prominence.  And now “climate emergency” claims precedence.   Brenda Looper in her column in the NADG (“Weighty Words,” 12-11-19, 7B) wrote about this rapid evolution of the language used to describe the increase of atmospheric temperature and its consequences. 
     “The Oxford Dictionaries blog notes: ‘The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression shown through usage evidence to reflect the ethos, mood or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.’ The expression that did that for 2019, it said, was ‘climate emergency.’” 
From hieroglyphic stairway by Drew Dellinger
What Did You Do?
it’s 3:23 in the morning
and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?
surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?
as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?
did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?
what did you do
(Reprinted from Facing the Anthropocene by Ian Angus.)

What follows is a miscellany of writings about what the UN Secretary-General called the “defining issue of our time.”
UN Climate report Nov. 26 Bleak
EU Parliament Declares Climate and Environmental Emergency
Climate Emergency Campaign
Cities Passing Emergency Declarations
Strategies for Local Campaigns
National Declarations
Advice and Inspiration
Google Searches
World Scientists Declare Emergency and Plan for Action
Colleges and Universities Declare Emergency and Unveil Plan
And Full Alert: Warming and Nuclear War, Art Hobson, “The Fate of the Earth”

   “U.N. climate change findings bleak.  Major countries failing to halt rise of greenhouse gas emissions, report says” by Somini Sengupta. The New York Times | (November 27, 2019).  Publ. also in NADG same day.  –D]
    Four years after countries struck a landmark deal in Paris to rein in greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to avert the worst effects of global warming, humanity is headed toward those very climate catastrophes, according to a U.N. report issued Tuesday [Nov. 26], with China and the United States, the two biggest polluters, having expanded their carbon footprints last year.
    "The summary findings are bleak," the report said, because countries have failed to halt the rise of greenhouse gas emissions even after repeated warnings from scientists. The result, the authors added, is that "deeper and faster cuts are now required."
The world's 20 richest countries, responsible for more than three-fourths of emissions, must take the biggest, swiftest steps to move away from fossil fuels, the report emphasized. The richest country of all, the United States, however, has formally begun to pull out of the Paris accord.
    Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown by 1.5% every year over the past decade, according to the annual assessment, the Emissions Gap Report, which is produced by the U.N. Environment Program. The opposite must happen if the world is to avoid the worst effects of climate change, including more intense droughts, stronger storms and widespread food insecurity by midcentury. To stay within relatively safe limits, emissions must decline sharply, by 7.6% every year, between 2020 and 2030, the report warned.
    Separately, the World Meteorological Organization reported Monday that emissions of three major greenhouse gases -- carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide -- have all swelled in the atmosphere since the mid-18th century.
Under the Paris agreement, reached in November 2015, every country has pledged to rein in emissions, with each setting its own targets and timetables. Even if every country fulfills its current pledges -- and many, including the United States, Brazil and Australia, are currently not on track to do so -- the Emissions Gap Report found average temperatures are on track to rise by about 5.8 degrees Fahrenheit from the baseline average temperature at the start of the industrial age.
     According to scientific models, that kind of temperature rise sharply increases the likelihood of extreme weather events, the accelerated melting of glaciers and swelling seas -- all endangering the lives of billions of people.
      The Paris agreement resolved to hold the increase in global temperatures well below 3.6 degrees; last year, a U.N.-backed panel of scientists said the safer limit was to keep it to 2.7 degrees.
     There are many ways to reduce emissions: quitting the combustion of fossil fuels, especially coal, the world's dirtiest fossil fuel; switching to renewable energy like solar and wind power; moving away from gas- and diesel-guzzling cars; and halting deforestation.
     In fact, many countries are headed in the wrong direction. A separate analysis released this month looked at how much coal, oil and natural gas the world's nations have said they expect to produce and sell through 2030. If all those fossil fuels were ultimately extracted and burned, the report found, countries would collectively miss their climate pledges, as well as the global 3.6 degree target, by an even larger margin than previously thought.
        Diplomats are scheduled to gather in Madrid in December for the next round of negotiations over the rules of the Paris agreement. The world's biggest polluters are under pressure to raise their pledges.   "This is a new and stark reminder," Spain's minister for ecological transition, Teresa Ribera, said of the Emissions Gap Report in an email. "We urgently need to align with the Paris agreement objectives and elevate climate ambition."
     If there is any good news in the report, it is that the current trajectory is not as dire as it was before countries around the world started taking steps to cut their emissions. The 2015 Emissions Gap Report said that, without any climate policies at all, the world was likely to face around 7 degrees of warming.   Coal use is declining sharply, especially in the United States and Western Europe, according to an analysis by Carbon Brief. Renewable energy is expanding fast, though not nearly as fast as necessary. And city and state governments around the world, including in the United States, are rolling out stricter rules on tailpipe pollution from cars.

EU Parliament Declares ‘Climate and Environmental Emergency’.   Olivia Rosane.  EcoWatch Nov. 29, 2019.
European Parliament declared a "climate and environmental emergency" Thursday, calling on the European Commission to make sure all legislation and budgets align with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
In another resolution, the group called on the EU to submit a strategy to the UN Convention on Climate Change for reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. The European Commission has already proposed a 2050 carbon neutrality goal, but the opposition of Poland, Hungary and Czechia has stopped it from earning the endorsement of the European Council.
The votes come less than one week before countries are set to gather in Madrid for the UN COP25 Climate Change Conference.
"The fact that Europe is the first continent to declare climate and environmental emergency, just before COP25, when the new commission takes office, and three weeks after Donald Trump confirmed the United States' withdrawal from the Paris agreement, is a strong message sent to citizens and the rest of the world," French liberal Member of European Parliament (MEP) Pascal Canfin, who wrote a draft of the climate emergency resolution, said, according to The Guardian.
Some climate activists applauded the European Parliament's emergency declaration, but also urged the EU to back up words with deeds.
"We can't solve a crisis without treating it as one," Swedish school-strike leader Greta Thunberg tweeted from the Atlantic Ocean, as she sails back from North America to attend COP25. "Let's hope they now take drastic sufficient action."
Greenpeace EU climate policy adviser Sebastian Mang shared a similar sentiment before the vote.
"Our house is on fire. The European parliament has seen the blaze, but it's not enough to stand by and watch," Mang said, according to The Guardian.
The first resolution was adopted 429 to 225 with 19 abstentions, and the second passed 430 to 190 with 34 abstentions.
The votes came a day after European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, the first woman to lead the EU's executive arm, pledged that the EU would be the first continent to reach net zero emissions by 2050, The Washington Post reported. She has promised a European Green Deal, which the commission will draft within 100 days of taking office in December.
"If there is one area where the world needs our leadership, it is on protecting our climate," she said, as The Washington Post reported. "This is an existential issue for Europe — and for the world."
The European Parliament's resolutions Thursday will put additional pressure on her to make good on her promises, and even increase them. Von der Leyen has proposed a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2030, but the second resolution called on her to make that a 55 percent reduction. The current target is 40 percent, which activists and Green politicians argue is not ambitious enough, according to The Guardian.
A UN study released this week warned that greenhouse gas emissions must decline 7.6 percent every year for the next decade in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

On cities passing declarations of climate emergency:

Climate Emergency Campaign


We demand governments adopt an emergency response to climate change and the broader ecological crisis. Declaring Climate Emergency is the critical first step to launching the comprehensive mobilization solution required to rescue and rebuild civilization. We are working to compel governments in the United States and throughout the world to declare Climate Emergency. 

Over 1245 local governments in 25 countries have declared a climate emergency and committed to action to drive down emissions at emergency speed.



Interactive map at this link: https://www.theclimatemobilization.org/climate-emergency-campaign

Over 798 million people are represented by local governments that have declared a Climate Emergency.


This data sheet tracks all declarations with links to more info: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tb-LklFWLujYnjmCSvCWRcLUJCCWAL27dKPzVcFq9CQ/edit#gid=0

Campaign Background
The goal of the Climate Emergency Campaign is to compel governments, starting at the local level and building upward, to adopt an emergency response to climate change and the broader ecological crisis. Entering emergency mode is the critical first step to launching the comprehensive mobilization required to rescue and rebuild civilization.
The Climate Emergency Campaign officially started in the city of Darebin, Australia—whose city government passed the first declaration of climate emergency in December 2016. Because of our work, Hoboken New Jersey became the third city in the world and the first city in the U.S. to declare a Climate Emergency in November, 2017.
Bolstered by a growing number of organizations and individuals, this campaign has spread to thirteen countries and has been adopted by multiple organizations as a rallying cry for the next phase of the climate movement.
Read a concise overview of the history of the “Climate Emergency” global campaign here.
Current strategic priorities for local campaigns
1. Pass declarations of Climate Emergency with commitment to reach zero emissions and begin carbon drawdown at emergency speed (10 years or less).
2. Local elected leaders become advocates for emergency Climate Mobilization to the public, to other cities, and to state and national gov’ts.
3. Develop and implement mobilization policy locally, after declaration is passed.
Declaration Templates
Please use our templates to initiate a Climate Emergency Declaration in your local or state government. We ask that you retain the core demands in your resolution.
Climate Emergency + Green New Deal Declaration Template
State Government Declaration Template
By declaring that we are in a climate emergency and committing to addressing it in time to avoid the worst outcomes, local governments can become leaders in the Climate Emergency Movement, and inspire other governments to do the same.
Why Focus on local governments?
Cities and local governments have historically been the spark for progress, from minimum wage to civil rights. Local wins inspire other communities to follow and build a mandate for much-needed national mobilizations. For example, the Climate and Environment Emergency Declaration in the United Kingdom started in cities and local councils.

Climate emergency declarations in 1,252 jurisdictions and local governments cover 798 million citizens


Posted on 12 December 2019
1,252 jurisdictions in 26 countries have declared a climate emergency. Populations covered by jurisdictions that have declared a climate emergency amount to 798 million citizens, with 55 million of these living in the United Kingdom. This means in Britain now over 80 per cent of the population lives in areas that have declared a climate emergency, almost 400 councils all together. In New Zealand, the percentage is nearly as high: 74 per cent of the population.
On 29 April 2019, the first parliament in the world to declare a climate emergency at the national level was the Welsh Parliament. Some say it was Scotland, though, because on 28 April 2019, the 
First Minister of Scotland declared a climate emergency on behalf of her government at an annual Scottish National Party conference.
On 1 May 2019, the United Kingdom Labour Party got unanimous support for a non-binding motion in favour of a climate emergency declaration in the House of Commons, claiming Britain thereby was the first country in the world where a bipartisan parliament had declared a climate emergency.
On 3 May 2019, the Gibraltar Parliament followed, and the government of the Republic of Ireland announced their declaration on 9 May. The next day, the Isle of Man parliament declared a climate emergency as well.
The Parliament of Portugal declared a climate emergency on 7 June 2019, the Canadian House of Commons followed on 17 June 2019, and the French parliament a climate emergency on 27 June 2019. Argentina followed on 17 July 2019.
On the list below are only included jurisdictions that have passed a binding motion declaring a climate emergency. As such, the non-binding motion instigated by UK Labour, for example, is not included in this data. Typical resolutions include setting up a process to develop an action plan and report back to council within three to six months.
In Australia, where the climate emergency declaration mobilisation and petition was launched in May 2016, over 75 jurisdictions representing roughly 6.5 million people – a quarter of the population – have declared a climate emergency, including the government of the Australian Capital Territory, based in the capital Canberra, and South Australia’s Upper House. More than 100 of the candidates in the 18 May 2019 federal election had signed the Climate Emergency Declaration petition.
These are the overall figures, according to population statistics available via the Internet:
The list is maintained by Cedamia
History: See Cedamia’s timeline
Cedamia’s World map of climate emergency declarations
Map of Swedish municipalities – which visualises the status of each, including those who end up voting against declaring a climate emergency.

Similar lists

This data compilation was initiated by Philip Sutton. Various lists are being updated independently, including:
» CEDAMIA’s list in chronological order (Adelaide, Australia):
» CACE Online’s list (Melbourne, Australia):
» ClimateEmergency.uk’s news page (United Kingdom):
» The Climate Mobilization’s list (USA):
City by City Campaign: The Race to Mobilize Is On

We have received questions from councillors and media about what a ‘climate emergency declaration’ or motion should contain, and whether there are certain criteria or guidelines to this.
For instance, can achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 be considered an ‘emergency’ response, or should the year be set as 2040, 2030 or even as ambitious as 2025?
Our call for declaring a climate emergency is not structured movement with a specific guideline and a set of criteria as such. It is an open ‘movement of movements’, and there are many opinions floating around about what is the best strategy.
Eventually, it is up to each individual council to make up its mind about what it wants to suggest and to implement.
Inspirational: Here’s some advice and inspiration – and here’s more advice and inspiration from CACE
Historical: This was the text we published in the Australian newspaper The Age on 23 June 2016:
“At the Paris climate talks, scientists and people from low-lying island states set 1.5°C of warming as a red line that must not be crossed. However, earlier this year, the global average temperature spiked past 1.6°C of warming.
The bleaching of coral reefs around the world, increasing extreme weather events, the melting of large ice sheets and recent venting of methane from thawing permafrost make it abundantly clear that the earth is already too hot.
The future of human civilisation, and the survival of the precious ecosystems on which we depend, now hang in the balance.
There must be an immediate ban on new coal and gas developments and an emergency-speed transition to zero emissions. We must begin the enormous task of safely drawing down the excess greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.
We call on the new parliament to declare a climate emergency.”

This was the climate emergency declaration petition text we wrote in 2016:
Given that:
• climate impacts are already causing serious loss of life and destroying vital ecosystems
• global average temperature, atmospheric greenhouse gases, and ocean acidity are already at dangerous levels, and
• wartime economic mobilisations have proven how quickly nations can restructure their economies when facing an extreme threat it is inexcusable to continue with climate-damaging policies that put us all in even greater peril. The Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal is not a safe goal.
We call on all Australian federal, state, and territory parliaments and all local councils to:
• declare a climate emergency
• commit to providing maximum protection for all people, economies, species, ecosystems, and civilisations, and to fully restoring a safe climate
• mobilise the required resources and take effective action at the necessary scale and speed
• transform the economy to zero emissions and make a fair contribution to drawing down the excess carbon dioxide in the air, and
• encourage all other governments around the world to take these same actions.
We’ve risen to big challenges in the past when an emergency has been declared, with citizens and all sides of politics rising to the occasion and working together for the common good.
We call on the Australian government to do what is necessary now.

  search for “Climate Emergency” gives “About 315,000,000 results”

  news search for “Climate Emergency” gives “About 37,700,000 results

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

World Scientists Declare Climate Emergency, Establish Global Indicators for Effective Action

CORVALLIS, Ore. - A global coalition of scientists led by William J. Ripple and Christopher Wolf of Oregon State University says “untold human suffering” is unavoidable without deep and lasting shifts in human activities that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and other factors related to climate change.
“Despite 40 years of major global negotiations, we have continued to conduct business as usual and have failed to address this crisis,” said Ripple, distinguished professor of ecology in the OSU College of Forestry. “Climate change has arrived and is accelerating faster than many scientists expected.”
In a paper published today in BioScience, the authors, along with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from 153 countries, declare a climate emergency, present graphics showing trends as vital signs against which to measure progress, and provide a set of effective mitigating actions.
The scientists point to six areas in which humanity should take immediate steps to slow down the effects of a warming planet:
1.    Energy. Implement massive conservation practices; replace fossil fuels with low-carbon renewables; leave remaining stocks of fossil fuels in the ground; eliminate subsidies to fossil fuel companies; and impose carbon fees that are high enough to restrain the use of fossil fuels.
2.    Short-lived pollutants. Swiftly cut emissions of methane, soot, hydrofluorocarbons and other short-lived climate pollutants; doing so has the potential to reduce the short-term warming trend by more than 50% over the next few decades.
3.    Nature. Restore and protect ecosystems such as forests, grasslands, peatlands, wetlands and mangroves, and allow a larger share of these ecosystems to reach their ecological potential for sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas.
4.    Food. Eat more plants and consume fewer animal products. The dietary shift would significantly reduce emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases and free up agricultural lands for growing human food rather than livestock feed. Reducing food waste is also critical – the scientists say at least one-third of all food produced ends up as garbage.
5.    Economy. Convert the economy to one that is carbon free to address human dependence on the biosphere and shift goals away from the growth of gross domestic product and the pursuit of affluence. Curb exploitation of ecosystems to maintain long-term biosphere sustainability.
6.    Population. Stabilize a global human population that is increasing by more than 200,000 people a day, using approaches that ensure social and economic justice.
“Mitigating and adapting to climate change while honoring the diversity of humans entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems,” the paper states. “We are encouraged by a recent surge of concern. Governmental bodies are making climate emergency declarations. Schoolchildren are striking. Ecocide lawsuits are proceeding in the courts. Grassroots citizen movements are demanding change, and many countries, states and provinces, cities, and businesses are responding. As an Alliance of World Scientists, we stand ready to assist decision makers in a just transition to a sustainable and equitable future.”
The graphs of vital signs in the paper illustrate several key climate-change indicators and factors over the last 40 years, since scientists from 50 nations met at the First World Climate Conference in Geneva in 1979.
In recent decades, multiple other global assemblies have agreed that urgent action is essential, but greenhouse gas emissions are still rapidly rising. Other ominous signs from human activities include sustained increases in per-capita meat production, global tree cover loss and number of airline passengers.
There are also some encouraging signs – including decreases in global birth rates and decelerated forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon, and increases in wind and solar power – but even those measures are tinged with worry. The decline in birth rates has slowed over the last 20 years, for example, and the pace of Amazon forest loss appears to be starting to increase again.
“Global surface temperature, ocean heat content, extreme weather and its costs, sea level, ocean acidity, and area burned in the United States are all rising,” Ripple said. “Globally, ice is rapidly disappearing as demonstrated by decreases in minimum summer Arctic sea ice, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and glacier thickness. All of these rapid changes highlight the urgent need for action.”
Joining Ripple and Wolf, a postdoctoral scholar in the OSU College of Forestry, as authors are Thomas M. Newsome of the University of Sydney, Phoebe Barnard of the Biological Conservation Institute and the University of Cape Town, and William R. Moomaw of Tufts University.
More information on the project, the list of signatories and the Alliance of World Scientists is available here.
Two years ago, Ripple lead an international team of researchers in producing an article published in BioScience titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice” that was signed by more than 15,000 scientists in 184 countries.
The warning came with steps that can be taken to reverse negative trends, but the authors suggested it may take a groundswell of public pressure to convince political leaders to take corrective actions. Since 1992, when more than 1,700 scientists — including a majority of the living Nobel laureates in the sciences—signed a “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, global trends have worsened.
Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039, steve.lundeberg@oregonstate.edu
William Ripple, 541-737-3056, 
Christopher Wolf, wolfch@oregonstate.edu

Published on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by Common Dreams

7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It

"We all need to work together to nurture a habitable planet for future generations and to play our part in building a greener and cleaner future for all."
climate emergency sign
Civic intelligence requires citizen engagement. (Photo: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
More than 7,000 colleges and universities across the globe declared a climate emergency on Wednesday and unveiled a three-point plan to collectively commit to addressing the crisis.
"Young people around the world feel that schools, colleges, and universities have been too slow to react to the crisis that is now bearing down on us."
—Charlotte Bonner, SOS
The declaration came in a letter—which other education institutions are encouraged to sign—that was organized by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), U.S.-based higher education climate action organization Second Nature, and U.N. Environment Program's (UNEP) Youth and Education Alliance.
The letter, according to a statement from organizers, "marks the first time further and higher education establishments have come together to make a collective commitment to address the climate emergency," and outlines the three-point plan:
1.    Committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest;
2.    Mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation; and
3.    Increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curricula, campus, and community outreach programs.
"The young minds that are shaped by our institutions must be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and capability to respond to the ever-growing challenges of climate change," the letter says. "We all need to work together to nurture a habitable planet for future generations and to play our part in building a greener and cleaner future for all."
The letter, which calls on other institutions and governments to declare a climate emergency and pursue urgent action to combat it, was presented at a Wednesday event hosted by the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative—a partnership of various United Nations agencies—at U.N. headquarters in New York City.
"The expectation is that over 10,000 institutions of higher and further education will come on board before the end of the 2019, with governments invited to support their leadership with incentives to take action," said the organizers' statement. So far, the letter has been signed by 25 networks that represent approximately 7,050 institutions and 59 individual institutions that, combined, have about 652,000 students.
The individual institutions that have joined the declaration include five in the continental United States and two in Puerto Rico as well as colleges and universities in Argentina, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Kenya, Kuwait, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.
"Young people are increasingly at the forefront of calls for more action on climate and environmental challenges. Initiatives which directly involve the youth in this critical work are a valuable contribution to achieving environmental sustainability."
—Inger Andersen, UNEP
"What we teach shapes the future. We welcome this commitment from universities to go climate neutral by 2030 and to scale-up their efforts on campus," said UNEP executive director Inger Andersen. "Young people are increasingly at the forefront of calls for more action on climate and environmental challenges. Initiatives which directly involve the youth in this critical work are a valuable contribution to achieving environmental sustainability."
The declaration follows months of students—from all levels of education—taking to the streets around the world as part of the school strike for climate movement, which calls on governments and powerful institutions to pursue bolder policies targeting the human-caused climate crisis.
Praising the college and universities' letter on Wednesday, Charlotte Bonner of Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS) said that "young people around the world feel that schools, colleges, and universities have been too slow to react to the crisis that is now bearing down on us."
"We welcome the news that they are declaring a climate emergency, we have no time to lose," Bronner added. "We will be calling on those who haven't yet supported this initiative, to come on board. Of course, the most important element is the action that follows."
Read the full letter below. Representatives for education institutions can sign the letter here.
As institutions and networks of higher and further education from across the world, we collectively declare a Climate Emergency in recognition of the need for a drastic societal shift to combat the growing threat of climate change.
The young minds that are shaped by our institutions must be equipped with the knowledge, skills and capability to respond to the ever-growing challenges of climate change. We all need to work together to nurture a habitable planet for future generations and to play our part in building a greener and cleaner future for all.
We are today committing to collectively step up to the challenge by supporting a three-point plan which includes:
1.    Mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation;
2.    Committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest;
3.    Increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curriculum, campus and community outreach programmes.
We call on governments and other education institutions to join us in declaring a Climate Emergency and back this up with actions that will help create a better future for both people and our planet.


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