Global warming news

India most vulnerable country to climate change - HSBC report

LONDON (Reuters) - India is the most vulnerable country to climate change, followed by Pakistan, the Philippines and Bangladesh, a ranking by HSBC showed on Monday.
Read more [Reuters]

Weathering Trump's skepticism, U.S. officials still fighting global warming

WASHINGTON/OSLO (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump has bashed international efforts to combat climate change and questioned the scientific consensus that global warming is dangerous and driven by human consumption of fossil fuels.
Read more [Reuters]

Weathering Trump's skepticism, US officials still fighting global warming

WASHINGTON/OSLO (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump has bashed international efforts to combat climate change and questioned the scientific consensus that global warming is dangerous and driven by human consumption of fossil fuels.
Read more [Reuters]

Half of plant and animal species at risk from climate change in world's most important natural places

LONDON - Up to half of plant and animal species in the world's most naturally rich areas, such as the Amazon and the Galapagos, could face local extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked. Even if the Paris Climate Agreement 2°C target is met, these places could lose 25 per cent of their species according to a landmark new study by the University of East Anglia, the James Cook University, and WWF.

Published today in the journal Climatic Change and just ahead of Earth Hour, the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment, researchers examined the impact of climate change on nearly 80,000 plant and animal species in 35 of the world's most diverse and naturally wildlife-rich areas. It explores a number of different climate change futures – from a no-emissions-cuts case in which global mean temperatures rise by 4.5°C[1], to a  2°C rise, the upper limit for temperature in the Paris Agreement[2]. Each area was chosen for its uniqueness and the variety of plants and animals found there.

The report finds that the Miombo Woodlands, home to African wild dogs, south-west Australia and the Amazon-Guianas are projected to be some the most affected areas. If there was a 4.5°C global mean temperature rise, the climates in these areas are projected to become unsuitable for many of the plants and animals that currently live there meaning: 

  • Up to 90 per cent of amphibians, 86 per cent of birds and 80 per cent of mammals could potentially become locally extinct in the Miombo Woodlands, Southern Africa
  • The Amazon could lose 69 per cent of its plant species
  • In south-west Australia 89 per cent of amphibians could become locally extinct
  • 60 per cent of all species are at risk of localized extinction in Madagascar
  • The Fynbos in the Western Cape Region of South Africa, which is experiencing a drought that has led to water shortages in Cape Town, could face localised extinctions of a third of its species, many of which are unique to that region.
As well as this, increased average temperatures and more erratic rainfall could become be the "new normal" according to the report - with significantly less rainfall in the Mediterranean, Madagascar and the Cerrado-Pantanal in Argentina. Potential effects include[3];
  • Pressure on the water supplies of African elephants – who need to drink 150-300 litres of water a day
  • 96 per cent of the breeding grounds of Sundarbans tigers could become submerged by sea-level rise
  • Comparatively fewer male marine turtles due to temperature-induced sex assignment of eggs.
If species can move freely to new locations then the risk of local extinction decreases from around 25 per cent to 20 per cent with a 2°C global mean temperature rise.  If species cannot they may not be able to survive. Most plants, amphibians and reptiles, such as orchids, frogs and lizards cannot move quickly enough keep up with these climatic changes.

Lead researcher Prof Rachel Warren from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA said:
"Our research quantifies the benefits of limiting global warming to 2°C for species in 35 of the world's most wildlife-rich areas. We studied 80,000 species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and found that 50 per cent of species could be lost from these areas without climate policy. However, if global warming is limited to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, this could be reduced to 25 per cent. Limiting warming to within 1.5°C was not explored, but would be expected to protect even more wildlife." 
Overall the research shows that the best way to protect against species loss is to keep global temperature rise as low as possible. The Paris Agreement Pledges, made by coutnries, reduce the expected level of global warming from 4.5°C to around 3°C, which reduces the impacts, but we see even greater improvements at 2°C; and it is likely that limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C would protect more wildlife.

This is why on 24 March millions of people across the world will come together for Earth Hour, to show their commitment to protecting biodiversity and being a part of the conversations and solutions needed to build a healthy, sustainable future – and planet – for all. The global mobilization sparked by Earth Hour also sends a clear message to business and government that there is a global will to change this trajectory.

Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF-UK commented:
"Within our children's lifetime, places like the Amazon and Galapagos Islands could become unrecognisable, with half the species that live there wiped out by human-caused climate change. Around the world, beautiful iconic animals like Amur tigers or Javan rhinos are at risk of disappearing, as well as tens of thousands plants and smaller creatures that are the foundation of all life on earth. That is why this Earth Hour we are asking everyone to make a promise for the planet and make the everyday changes to protect our planet."


For further information, please contact
Alexander Stafford
+44 (0)1483 412332
07742 093510
For questions about the Climatic Change paper, contact Rachel Warren, +44(0)1603 593912 
For questions about the full WWF report, contact Jeff Price, +44(0)1603 592561
Case studies
What individual species will experience:
  • Orang-Utans have a solitary life-style which allows them to move to cope with reduced food availability due to changing climates. However, females are strictly bound to their territories, which will prevent them from moving, and can put them at risk as there is a general reduction in available forest habitat due to deforestation, climate change and other human pressures
  • Snow leopards already live under extreme conditions with very little margin for changes which makes them particularly sensitive to changes in climate. Their habitat will shrink by 20 per cent due to climate change and will put them into greater direct competition over food and territory with the common leopard, which will likely lead to a further decline in numbers.
  • Tigers live in highly fragmented landscapes and will be greatly impacted by further climate-induced habitat loss. For example, projected sea level rise will submerge 96 per cent of breeding habitat for the Sundarbans tigers, and Amur tigers are unlikely to persist to the next century if the size and quality of their habitat is reduced.
  • Polar bears are among the most sensitive to climate change because they depend on sea ice to live and eat. Younger polar bears that are not as practiced hunters are particularly affected by food shortages due to shrinking sea ice. Polar bears in some areas are already in decline - for example, the population in Hudson Bay has been already reduced by 22 per cent - and are predicted to sharply decline by the end of the 21st century due to climate change.
  • Marine Turtles are highly sensitive to climate warming. While adults have been known to move to avoid too warm waters, a changing climate will impact greatly on their offspring. Tortoises and turtles are among the species with temperature-dependent sex determination. Warmer temperatures will produce more females resulting in a dangerous sex bias. Also increased flooding will increase egg mortality and warmer sand will also produce smaller and weaker hatchlings.
 Notes to the editor 
  1. The research has been peer-reviewed and published 14 March 2018 in the academic journal Climatic Change.  The reference is The implications of the United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change for Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas by Warren, R.1, Price, J., VanDerWal, J., Cornelius, S., Sohl, H. 
  2. WWF has produced a summary report of the research titled 'Wildlife in a Warming World'
  3. The research published in Climatic Change was summarised from a 5-part report commissioned by WWF and led by Dr. Jeff Price.  This report includes a literature review on the effects of climate change on individual species led by Dr. Amy McDougall (formerly UEA).
  4. The models used in this research come from the Wallace Initiative (, a near decade long partnership between the Tyndall Centre at UEA (UK), eResearch at James Cook University (Australia), the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and World Wildlife Fund. 
  5. Earth Hour, organised by WWF, is the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment inspiring millions across the world to take action and make a promise to protect our brilliant planet, our home. Right now we're facing some of the biggest environmental threats ever seen, including staggering biodiversity loss. - We're seeing our oceans suffocated by plastic and over-consumption decimate our forests, the lungs of the earth. Earth Hour shows what we can achieve when we all come together. Last year in the UK over 9 million people took part, along with over 6,000 schools, 1,700 youth groups, 300 landmarks and thousands of businesses and organisations. Iconic landmarks including Big Ben and Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Blackpool Tower, The Kelpies, Brighton Pier, Cardiff Castle and many more joined the global switch off. Globally, from Samoa to Tahiti, a record 187 countries and territories took part in the world's biggest Earth Hour yet. The support for Earth Hour and WWF's work more broadly has influenced climate policy, facilitated climate-friendly laws, such as a ban on plastic in the Galapagos Islands and supported the world's first Earth Hour forest in Uganda.
  6.  Follow WWF-UK on Facebook, Earth Hour Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest 
  7. WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @wwf
  8. The University of East Anglia (UEA) is a UK Top 15 university. Known for its world-leading research and outstanding student experience, it was awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework. UEA is a leading member of Norwich Research Park, one of Europe's biggest concentrations of researchers in the fields of environment, health and plant science. 
  9. The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research is an active and expanding partnership between the Universities of East Anglia (headquarters), Cambridge, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton, Sussex, and recently Fudan University in Shanghai. It conducts research on the interdisciplinary aspects of climate change and is committed to promote informed and effective dialogue across society about the options to manage our future climate.
 [1] Relative to pre-industrial times[2] Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change, was an agreement signed by 175 countries in 2016[3] Based on the Climatic Change report, scientific literature and expert knowledge from WWF
Read more [WWF]

Greens fear climate backslide with Pompeo as top U.S. diplomat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Several green groups criticized the Trump administration's choice on Tuesday of CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, saying his past skeptical comments about global warming show he is less suited to run U.S. foreign policy about climate change than the former Exxon Mobil CEO.
Read more [Reuters]

Fisheries output to plunge unless global warming reeled in

OSLO (Reuters) - Global fisheries output will slump by 20 percent by 2300 and by 60 percent in the worst-hit North Atlantic region if governments fail to slow long-term global warming, a U.S. team of scientists said on Thursday.
Read more [Reuters]

Cape Town water crisis: Michael Bloomberg on Ground Zero as Day Zero is pushed back

In recent months, all eyes have been on Cape Town as the city copes with a water crisis of unprecedented scale. It has been billed as the first major city in the world to run the risk of its taps running dry and though latest news reports indicate that Day Zero may be pushed back, the city's four million residents have become the face of the 'new normal' the world appears to be heading toward.

Not surprising then that in his first trip as U.N. Special Envoy for Climate Action, Michael Bloomberg, decided to visit the Theewaterskloof Dam, the largest dam supplying water to the Western Cape of South Africa, on Wednesday.

At the site, the founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City said: "The extreme drought here in Cape Town should be a wake-up call for all who think that climate change is some far off threat. It's already here, it's making droughts and storms more dangerous, and we've got to do more to keep it from getting worse. Cities and businesses are helping to lead the way, but all levels of society in all countries - on all continents - must take bolder actions. We cannot let droughts like this become common around the world."

Christine Colvin from WWF-South Africa accompanied Mr Bloomberg on the visit along with other prominent environmental and water experts to discuss how, given the intensification of extreme weather due to climate change around the globe, cities can accelerate their preparations for an uncertain water future.

Colvin said: "The current Cape water crisis has had a dramatic impact not just on water availability, but also our relationship with water. Water has suddenly become everybody's business as households and the private sector have scrambled to secure alternate, off-mains supplies and improve their levels of water-use efficiency and independent water security. A 'New Normal' is going to require a diversification of water sources and a rethink of our current infrastructure. Catchments, aquifers and our water source areas are a critical component of that infrastructure. They require direct attention and investment as part of our future economic development. The natural links in our water value chain can no longer be allowed to fall through the administrative gaps between national government and water service providers. As we move to more decentralized use with thousands of individuals managing boreholes, recycling systems and rain water, we need to find a new model that enables us all to be both consumers and custodians of this our shared water resources."

To find out more about how citizens, companies and decision-makers have taken actions to push back Day Zero in recent months, visit

Read more [WWF]

U.S. loses bid to halt children's climate change lawsuit

(Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected the U.S. government's bid to halt a lawsuit by young people claiming that President Donald Trump and his administration are violating their constitutional rights by ignoring the harms caused by climate change.
Read more [Reuters]

Mondi joins WWF's Climate Savers business leadership programme

Global packaging and paper group adopts 2050 science-based targets to limit global temperature rise to under 2°C.  

Vienna, Austria  – Mondi Group has joined the ranks of global climate leaders by signing up to Climate Savers, WWF's climate leadership programme for businesses. The packaging and paper group commits to reduce its specific production-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 0.25 t CO2e/t production by 2050. This commitment and others made as part of its participation in the flagship programme are in line with climate science targets required to limit global temperature rise to under 2°C. 
Mondi's participation in Climate Savers is an extension of a strategic global partnership between Mondi and WWF that started in 2014. The partnership focuses on promoting environmental stewardship in the packaging and paper sector. In joining Climate Savers, Mondi commits to working to further reduce GHG emissions across its entire value chain and to taking actions to positively influence the packaging and paper industry as well as policy makers. Climate Savers members aim to transform businesses into low-carbon economy leaders.
Peter Oswald, Chief Executive Officer, Mondi Group says, "As a global player in the packaging and paper industry, we are part of an energy intensive sector. We've managed to reduce our specific CO2 emissions by 38% since 2004 by focusing on operational efficiency and energy efficiency. We join the WWF Climate Savers programme to reinforce our long-standing commitment to climate change mitigation and to demonstrate to the rest of our industry that using energy efficiently is not only necessary for the environment, but also good for business. We are proud to confirm our commitment to the science-based target needed to keep global warming well below 2°C for our production-related emissions."
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice says, "Climate change is one of the biggest threats of our future, with fundamental impacts on places, species and people everywhere.  To change things for the better, we need to start acting now. We welcome Mondi's efforts toward helping build a more sustainable business world and are happy to have them join the Climate Savers programme."
To achieve its climate goals, Mondi has developed an ambitious programme to improve energy efficiency, replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, sustainably manage its forests and associated ecosystems, and source its raw materials responsibly. Mondi is also active in developing packaging and paper products that help its customers and consumers reduce their own carbon footprints.
Mondi's Climate Savers agreement will run at least until the end of 2020, concurrent with phase two of its global partnership with WWF.
Notes for Editors:
Mondi's Climate Savers commitments and climate targets:

  • Reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions*: Mondi commits to reduce production-related, absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with evidence- based climate science targets to keep global warming below two degrees. This requires a reduction of specific production-related GHG emissions to 0.25 tonnes CO2e per tonne of saleable production by 2050. 
  • Reduce scope 3 emissions*: Mondi commits to improve data collection for its indirect GHG emissions along the value chain (Scope 3 emissions) and to set ambitious reduction targets in the field of its supply chain and transport of raw materials and products.
  • Increase renewable energy: Mondi will investigate opportunities to increase renewable energy in a sustainable way and implement them where feasible. 
  • Be an agent of change: Mondi will work actively to positively influence the paper and packaging industry to join the movement and commit to keeping their production-related greenhouse gas emissions in line with the international target to stay well below 2°C temperature increase.
* Scope 1 emissions are direct GHG emissions from sources owned or controlled by an organization. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam. Scope 3 emissions are other indirect emissions, such as those produced through extraction and production of purchased materials and fuels, or through outsourced, transport-related activities.

For further information please contact:
Theresa Gral, Media Officer, WWF Austria,, +43 676 834 88 216
Mandy Jean Woods, Communications Manager, WWF Climate & Energy Practice,
Jennifer Buley, Group Communication & Marketing, Mondi,
About WWF Climate Savers - WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. The Climate & Energy Practice is WWF's global programme addressing climate change. It includes Climate Savers, aimed at engaging the private sector nationally and internationally on implementing low carbon, climate resilient development.
About WWF - WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit for latest news and media resources.

About Mondi - Mondi is a global leader in packaging and paper, employing around 26,000 people in over 30 countries. We are fully integrated across the packaging and paper value chain – from managing forests and producing pulp, paper and flexible plastics, to developing and manufacturing effective industrial and consumer packaging solutions. Sustainability is embedded in everything we do, with clearly defined commitments across 10 action areas. We delight our customers with our innovative and sustainable packaging and paper solutions. Our major operations are in central Europe, Russia, North America and South Africa.

Mondi has a dual listed company structure, with a primary listing on the JSE Limited for Mondi Limited under the ticker MND and a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange for Mondi plc, under the ticker MNDI. We are a FTSE 100 constituent, and have been included in the FTSE4Good Index Series since 2008 and the JSE's Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index since 2007.
Read more [WWF]

French hydro firm builds wind turbines as Swiss glaciers melt

PARIS (Reuters) - French hydropower firm CNR, anticipating the impact of climate change and the possible disappearance of glaciers in the Swiss Alps, plans to sharply increase its solar and wind capacity to compensate for lower water levels on the Rhone river.
Read more [Reuters]

Lawmakers question biggest UK pensions over climate change risks

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's biggest pension funds have been asked by lawmakers to explain how they are managing the impact of climate change risks on their investments.
Read more [Reuters]

Chevron says its business is resilient to climate change

(Reuters) - Chevron Corp said on Thursday its business is resilient to a wide variety of possible climate change scenarios as the U.S. oil company and other producers come under pressure to invest less in oil projects and more in renewable energy.
Read more [Reuters]

Coral reefs at risk of dissolving as oceans get more acidic: study

OSLO (Reuters) - Coral reefs could start to dissolve before 2100 as man-made climate change drives acidification of the oceans, scientists said on Thursday.
Read more [Reuters]

EU should raise fossil fuel taxes to plug Brexit budget gap: former officials

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union should raise taxes on fossil fuels to help meet goals on climate change and plug a budget gap after Britain leaves the bloc, former senior EU officials said in a letter to EU leaders.
Read more [Reuters]

There Are Still Opportunities for US-China Climate Cooperation

There Are Still Opportunities for US-China Climate Cooperation Comments|Add Comment|PrintSolar installation in Shanghai. Flickr/The Climate Group This post originally appeared at China Daily. Despite the growing signs of changing climate in 2017, with massive storms, flooding and wildfires, US President Donald Trump did not mention "climate change" in last week's State of the Union speech. He did not refer to "renewable energy" either, breaking from nearly all recent presidential addresses....

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]


Visualizing a Warmer World: 10 Maps of Climate Vulnerability

Visualizing a Warmer World: 10 Maps of Climate Vulnerability Comments|Add Comment|PrintPREPdata allows users to map indicators like sea level rise or precipitation change to assess a region’s vulnerability. Image from The climate disasters that made headlines in 2017 — monster hurricanes, devastating floods and unprecedented drought — will become commonplace in the coming decades as climate change intensifies. Decision-makers from urban planners to corporate executives are...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]


Soccer, cricket and golf handicapped by UK climate change: study

OSLO (Reuters) - Golf, cricket and soccer are suffering from wetter weather linked to climate change in Britain, the nation which laid down the modern rules for the games, a study said on Wednesday.
Read more [Reuters]

Talanoa Dialogue: Jump-Starting Climate Action in 2018

Talanoa Dialogue: Jump-Starting Climate Action in 2018 Comments|Add Comment|PrintThe Talanoa Dialogue officially kicked off in January. Photo by Climate Alliance/Flickr This year opens a new phase for the Paris Agreement and a historic opportunity to jumpstart action to limit the most dangerous impacts of climate change and set the world on course to a carbon-neutral, sustainable future by 2050. With the official launch of the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue in January, countries are now embarking on...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]


Photo Essay: How Climate Change Affects the Urban Poor in India and Indonesia

Photo Essay: How Climate Change Affects the Urban Poor in India and Indonesia Comments|Add Comment|PrintPhoto by Lubaina Rangwala/WRI India This article was originally posted on TheCityFix. One of the biggest challenges to climate action is not only understanding the risks of flooding, extreme heat and other challenges, but how your community might respond to these risks. What are its strengths? How might policymakers augment existing capacities and address weaknesses? WRI’s Urban Community...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]


STATEMENT: President Trump’s State of the Union Misses the Mark

STATEMENT: President Trump’s State of the Union Misses the Mark WASHINGTON (January 30, 2018) — President Trump delivered his first State of the Union speech tonight. Following is a statement by Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute: “President Trump’s tone was serious, but his words often missed the mark. Despite the recent record-breaking extreme weather events, the President failed to connect the dots to climate change. At every turn, this administration has...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]


Sponsoring climate change

It is that time again. Four years roll by and once more the greatest winter athletes in the world will come together to wow us on death-defying luge runs, courageous ski jumps or surprisingly mesmerising curling slides matches.

Unfortunately, all is not well in this winter wonderland.

In preparations for these games, many Olympians have been faced by changing slopes - forced to search the world for places with the right conditions for them to train.

Meanwhile, a recent study by Dr. Daniel Scott from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, found that nine previous and future Winter Olympic cities may soon be too hot to host the games due to rising temperatures.

The impacts of climate change, that once seemed so far away, are here. And they are only going to get worse if we continue down the path we are on.

It does make you wonder then, why one of the biggest sponsors of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Samsung, is still stuck on dirty energy.

Greenpeace UK activists give Samsung's flagship store in London a rebranding makeover 

Since the 2010 Games, Samsung’s emissions, released from their vast, global supply chain, have risen by a whopping 55%. 

Even more shockingly, right now Samsung uses a measly 1% renewable energy. Hardly a gold medal score, this is a laughably underwhelming achievement for a company that spouts out taglines such as “Do What You Can’t” and “Do Bigger Things” without a hint of hypocrisy.

This is in stark contrast to the rest of the world.

Even the Pyeongchang Olympic committee have been proactively communicating their own commitment to be powered by renewables. Six of the venues will run on renewable energy and they have set a target for zero emissions from the games.

While the snow melts and people around the world realise we have no time to lose, Samsung’s CEOs continue to turn a deaf ear. This is not about Greenpeace, it is not about saving face or greenwashing. On the eve of the 2018 Winter Olympics, the world is facing an existential crisis. Never before have we needed action on a truly global scale from all corners to reduce emissions and transition to renewable energy as fast as possible.

However, this is also an opportunity that will set aside the dinosaurs from the innovators. A moment that history will judge us for our actions (or lack of).

Samsung’s CEOs are faced with an opportunity to change course and courageously go beyond business as usual to drastically reduce our emissions and half catastrophic climate change. Do what you can’t?

Robin Perkins is Global Rethink IT Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia

Read more [Greenpeace international]

The Rise of the Penguins

Never have so many penguins been seen waddling in so many places.

They were ice skating in Stockholm, tap dancing in London, trekking up the highest mountain in Turkey and marching on mass in central Tokyo. They were even spotted roaming the deserts of Israel and swimming in the Dead Sea.

Last Saturday (which also happened to be Penguin Awareness Day) penguins across the world stood up in force to support an ocean sanctuary in the Antarctic.

An Antarctic Sanctuary would be a safe haven for penguins, whales and seals. It would put the waters off-limits to the industrial fishing vessels sucking up the tiny shrimp-like krill which Antarctic life relies on. Healthy oceans sustain precious wildlife, help limit climate change and provide food security for billions of people.

You can join the movement here, without having to put on a penguin costume (unless you want to).

A parade of penguins inspect an artwork about Climate Change by Aydın Ermis and Salih Kocakaya called ‘Time of Transformation’ on Turkey’s highest mountain, Mount Erciyes.


Penguin crossing. A large waddle spotted in the Shinjuku area of central Tokyo


Dazzling the locals with outstanding choreographed ice skating in central Stockholm.


A quiet moment of reflection 430m below Antarctic sea level at the Dead Sea in Israel.


A raft of Penguins forming a circle in central Utrecht in the Netherlands.


Tux dining out in style and enjoying some hearty broth in the Netherlands.


“Catch ya later, we’re off for a good ol’ knees up!” Calling friends and family back home from a red telephone box in London.


Crossing the road in search of somewhere to stay in Rosario, Argentina.


A large colony of 80 penguins tap dancing outside the South Bank centre in central London.


Penguin shopping in central Hong Kong.


Have you ever seen a penguin in the desert? Well, now you have. In Israel.


13,000km from home, by the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.



A creche of Penguins calling to protect the Antarctic from the picture postcard old harbour, Nyhavn, in Copenhagen, Denmark.


And a final message from Istanbul. This is our world too.

There are many names for groups of penguins on land, but a ‘waddle’ has to be my favourite. Help protect their Antarctic home, so that penguins everywhere can continue to waddle forever.

Will Rose is a freelance photographer with Greenpeace UK

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Climate advocacy group sues U.S. EPA for 'purge' of scientists

(Reuters) - A climate change advocacy group on Tuesday sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for banning certain scientists from serving on its advisory committees, a move the group said will give business an unfair influence on policy.
Read more [Reuters]

Austria to sue EU over allowing expansion of Hungary nuclear plant

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria is planning to sue the European Commission for allowing Hungary to expand its Paks atomic plant, it said on Monday, not viewing nuclear energy as the way to combat climate change or as being in the common European interest.
Read more [Reuters]

Listening for Justice in Davos

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing” - Arundhati Roy

I can hear her too. I have spent my working life trying to help others hear her. I wonder, when attending the annual World Economic Forum meeting this week, in the cold mountain air of Davos, if I will still be able to hear her?

 Statue of Justice Activity in Davos, 18 Jan 2018

Seven women will chair this year’s Davos, but I still wonder if lady justice will rise above the chorus of backroom deals and rhetoric about co-creating a better future. I wonder if we will be able to find the empathy and connectivity to not only debate the most pressing challenges facing the world today, but to also seize the opportunities they present to build a more sustainable and equitable future together.  The time for simply tinkering with the existing system to preserve the status quo is long gone.

Of course I will be reaching out in Davos with special attention on gender equality and justice as vital drivers of the changes we need to see in the world. I will appeal to all those I speak with to look inside themselves and ask how they feel about what is happening in the world. I will ask them to identify what they can do and simply implore them to get it done.

Each year just ahead of the Davos meeting, the WEF publish a Global Risks Report. Over the last few years, we at Greenpeace, and the broader environmental and social justice movements, have made many of the same points about risks, urgency and solutions The very systems from which corporations and politicians draw their power and profit are breaking down and creating the fractured world we now live in.

Extreme weather events (and make no mistake they are more extreme due to climate change) are once again for the second year running, what political and business leaders themselves say is the world’s biggest threat.  They are also ranked close to weapons of mass destruction in terms of potential impact. We have clearly entered the era of alternative WMD – Weather of Mass Destruction.

What more relevant place, therefore, than to have this conversation at Davos, where many of the individuals who can ensure we turn the ship in time before hitting the iceberg, are present?

Of course we have to appeal to those in power as human beings, as citizens, as parents and grandparents. We must not forget to appeal to their humanity. At the same time they have specific power and responsibility.

I will also be promoting a new Greenpeace report “Justice for People and Planet.” It calls on governments to impose effective and binding rules on corporate behavior, to make them accountable toward people and the planet. It shows how, rather than imposing these rules, governments have willingly, or unwillingly, become enablers of corporate impunity.

The report’s analysis of 20 specific cases shows how corporations have exploited corporate law, tax and investment treaties, regulatory capture and a series of barriers to justice to profit at the expense of human rights and the environment.

The report documents, among others, how differences in legal standards saw VW fined billions in the US for the dieselgate scandal, but escape unpunished in Europe; how Resolute Forest Products and Energy Transfer Partners have used SLAPP suits in an attempt to silence critics; how Glencore pollutes the environment and climate and uses private arbitration courts to pressurize governments; and how Spanish ACS group became an accomplice to an environmental and social catastrophe when it joined the construction of the Renace hydroelectric power project in Guatemala.

In response we outline common sense Corporate Accountability Principles that include ‘Holding corporations and those individuals who direct them liable for environmental and human rights violations committed domestically or abroad by companies under their control.’ and ‘Promoting a race to the top by prohibiting corporations from carrying out activities abroad which are banned in their home state for reasons of risks to environmental or human rights.’

Whenever possible in conversation I will relay the latest climate science, with a specific focus on the connection between extreme weather events, climate change, and corporate liability. This is a rapidly evolving field scientifically, and, as the impacts are hitting more often and more intensively, one that corporate leaders should be aware of. The recently announced case New York City divesting from fossil fuels against Exxon is based on this latest science. 

As Executive Director of Greenpeace International I get asked if I should really be going to Davos. The answer is yes. My predecessors attended for one simple reason-- it is a rare opportunity to speak truth directly to power. Of course, as always, there is no guarantee those people will listen.

I will have many meetings with senior corporate leaders away from their large support teams. Somehow it feels like a more human interaction and a chance to speak heart to heart about facts, economic opportunities, as well as to help them find the compassion they need for these challenges.

Greenpeace is often the first one to turn up at oil spill, or at nuclear disaster so why not be the ones to show up at court of corporate executives straight at the top, and get them to sign up now to the future I am sure they want for their kids and grandkids. 

Jennifer Morgan is an executive director with Greenpeace International


Read more [Greenpeace international]

Germany faces risks, higher costs without focus on green finance: report

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany faces growing risks and high costs if it does not revamp its financial system to focus more on climate change and sustainability, according to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund and finance groups including Deutsche Boerse .
Read more [Reuters]

March of the penguins

This morning, people around the world are waking up to pictures of penguin sightings across the globe. The penguins have been spotted travelling on trains, arriving at international airports and at iconic landmarks. From Sydney to Buenos Aires and from London to Johannesburg, the question on everybody’s mind - what are they here for?

The penguins are part of a new Greenpeace campaign calling for the creation of the largest protected area on earth: a 1.8 million square kilometre ocean sanctuary in the Antarctic. An Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary that would form a safe haven for penguins, whales and seals. A Sanctuary that keeps away industrial fishing vessels sucking up the tiny shrimp-like krill, that Antarctic life relies on. An Antarctic Sanctuary that limits the impact of climate change. A Sanctuary that would help secure the health of our oceans.

This Sanctuary will only happen if we demand that our leaders protect our shared oceans. This year we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make it happen - the Antarctic Ocean Commission meets to discuss the proposal in October.

We need to stand with the penguins and make world leaders listen to us, all of us! Join the movement to protect the Antarctic

And share the pictures below if you enjoy them as much as I did.

Seeing the sites in Barcelona before hitting the Spanish coast with snorkel and fins.

Arriving in Sydney, wasting no time in seeing the iconic Sydney Opera House after the flight.

Grabbing some cool shade in Argentina’s Buenos Aires while waiting for a bus. 

Riding around in a London cab and getting a good look at the beautiful Tower Bridge. 

Wandering around looking for Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Feeling upside down on the other side of the world stopping off in wintry cold Stockholm en-route to the Arctic.

Taking in the amazing Gwanghwamun Gate and Gwanghwamun Square in South Korea. Tourist mode on.

Ticking off one of the world’s greatest cities, Berlin, to grab another all important suitcase travel sticker.

Tagging along on a guided tour of Berlin by the The Brandenburg Gate.

Spotted in Hamburg causing a flap amongst the local seagulls.

Posing for travellers at Washington National Airport in the United States.

Arriving at sunset to Han river, which divides Seoul from east to west.

Getting directions to Hamburg’s famous Miniatur Wunderland from a passer by in the hauptbahnhof.

Literally hanging out at Caminito street museum in La Boca, Buenos Aires.

Akshey Kalra is a campaigner with Greenpeace UK.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Setting sail to protect the Antarctic

As I write this, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, is sailing South. For the next three months, the crew will be working alongside a team of campaigners, photographers, film-makers, scientists and journalists from across the globe to build the case for the world’s largest protected area: an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.

Weathered Iceberg in the Antarctic Ocean, 2008

The Antarctic is home to an abundance of wildlife. Whales, penguins and colossal squid are just a few of the many animals who call it home. And it’s not just important to animals - the health of our oceans sustains our planet, and provides billions of people with their livelihoods. But threats from overfishing, plastic pollution and climate change mean we urgently need a network of sanctuaries across the world to restore our oceans’ health.

And this year, we have the chance to create the world’s largest protected area. Which is why we’re taking to the seas.

From exploring previously unseen parts of the seabed, to documenting the impact of climate change and the fishing industry on penguin colonies, this promises to be a journey like no other.  We’ll be bringing the charismatic wildlife of the Antarctic closer to you than ever before and introducing you to the passionate scientists who have devoted their lives to protect it. Because we need you to join them.

Time is ticking to protect the Antarctic

I think it’s fair to say most of us work well to a deadline. Something about having a due date helps focus the mind and gets the creative juices going. Well, we have a new deadline: October 2018.  

In just over nine months’ time the Antarctic Ocean Commission meets to discuss whether or not to make history and create the world’s largest protected area. We have until then to convince the members of this Commission to put aside their differences and create a safe haven for emperor penguins, blue whales, colossal squid and all the other Antarctic animals.

Adeli Penguins in the Antarctic Ocean, 2008

We now have nine months to show leaders across the world how important it is to protect the ocean at a larger scale than ever before – for the wildlife that calls it home, for the sake of preventing the worst impacts of climate change and for the livelihoods of more than half the people who live on the planet, who depend on the ocean for their food.  

The case for protecting our oceans has never been stronger, with new science emerging every day about how healthy oceans are vital for our future.

There are leaders representing 24 countries and the EU meeting to make this decision. So in the coming months we’ll be sending them a message: the journey to protect our blue planet begins in the Antarctic.

Help make history

While there’s only a few of us in the team headed south, you can make it a team of millions. You can help persuade politicians across the globe to work together for the oceans.

Crew on board the Arctic Sunrise before it leaves for the Antarctic, 2018

As we work with scientists to discover new habitats on the Antarctic seabed, as we bear witness to the fishing boats competing against penguins and whales to find the krill they feed on – it’s your support that’s going to make politicians listen.

As the Arctic Sunrise sets sail today, I’ll be the first to admit it is a little daunting – not just the prospect of three months sailing in one of the wildest parts of the planet, but also the challenge of getting so many governments to agree with each other!  

We’re aiming high because we have to. From the smallest creatures on earth to the largest, we need healthy oceans for the future of life on earth. Right now we have the opportunity to protect an area of the Antarctic Ocean that is six times the size of Italy. We need to do everything we can to seize it.

Get started by adding your voice here.

Already signed the petition? Share it with your friends

Will McCallum is an Oceans Campaigner with Greenpeace UK

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Make security strategy include climate again, lawmakers urge Trump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of more than 100 bipartisan lawmakers in the U.S. House urged President Donald Trump on Friday to reconsider the omission of climate change from his administration's national security strategy, saying it is a step backward on science.
Read more [Reuters]

Exclusive: Trump's EPA aims to replace Obama-era climate, water regulations in 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will replace Obama-era carbon and clean water regulations and open up a national debate on climate change in 2018, part of a list of priorities for the year that also includes fighting lead contamination in public drinking water.
Read more [Reuters]

China says 27 of 31 regions met 2016 low carbon targets

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China said 27 of its 31 regions met their greenhouse gas reduction targets aimed at combating global warming in 2016, the country's climate change regulator said in a notice on Monday.
Read more [Reuters]

A Brief History of Environmentalism

"The goal of life is living in agreement with nature."
— Zeno ~ 450 BC (from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers)

Homo sapiens roamed the Earth. We can only speculate about how these early humans reacted, but migrating to new habitats appears to be a common response.

Jasper National Park in Canada, 2017

Ecological awareness first appears in the human record at least 5,000 years ago. Vedic sages praised the wild forests in their hymns, Taoists urged that human life should reflect nature's patterns and the Buddha taught compassion for all sentient beings.

In the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, we see apprehension about forest destruction and drying marshes. When Gilgamesh cuts down sacred trees, the deities curse Sumer with drought, and Ishtar (mother of the Earth goddess) sends the Bull of Heaven to punish Gilgamesh.

In ancient Greek mythology, when the hunter Orion vows to kill all the animals, Gaia objects and creates a great scorpion to kill Orion. When the scorpion fails, Artemis, goddess of the forests and mistress of animals, shoots Orion with an arrow.

In North America, Pawnee Eagle Chief, Letakots-Lesa, told anthropologist Natalie Curtis that "Tirawa, the one Above, did not speak directly to humans... he showed himself through the beasts, and from them and from the stars, the sun, and the moon should humans learn."

Some of the earliest human stories contain lessons about the sacredness of wilderness, the importance of restraining our power, and our obligation to care for the natural world.   

Early environmental response

Five thousand years ago, the Indus civilisation of Mohenjo Darro (an ancient city in modern-day Pakistan), were already recognising the effects of pollution on human health and practiced waste management and sanitation. In Greece, as deforestation led to soil erosion, the philosopher Plato lamented, "All the richer and softer parts have fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land remains." Communities in China, India, and Peru understood the impact of soil erosion and prevented it by creating terraces, crop rotation, and nutrient recycling.

The Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen began to observe environmental health problems such as acid contamination in copper miners. Hippocrates' book, De aëre, aquis et locis (Air, Waters, and Places), is the earliest surviving European work on human ecology.

Advancing agriculture boosted human populations but also caused soil erosion and attracted insect infestations that led to severe famines between 200 and 1200 CE.

In 1306, the English king Edward I limited coal burning in London due to smog. In the 17th century, the naturalist and gardener John Evelyn wrote that London resembled "the suburbs of Hell." These events inspired the first ‘renewable’ energy boom in Europe, as governments started to subsidise water and wind power.

In the 16th century, the Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted scenes of raw sewage and other pollution emptying into rivers, and Dutch lawyer Hugo Grotius wrote The Free Sea, claiming that pollution and war violate natural law.

Netherlandish Proverbs (1559) - Pieter Bruegel the Elder. If you look closely at the mid-ground to the right, you can see a wealthy man dumping money into the sewage. 

Environmental rights

Perhaps the first real environmental activists were the Bishnoi Hindus of Khejarli, who were slaughtered by the Maharaja of Jodhpur in 1720 for attempting to protect the forest that he felled to build himself a palace.

The 18th century witnessed the dawn of modern environmental rights. After a yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin petitioned to manage waste and to remove tanneries for clean air as a public "right" (albeit, on land stolen from Indigenous nations). Later, American artist George Catlin proposed that Indigenous land be protected as a "natural right".

At the same time in Britain, Jeremy Benthu, wrote An Introduction to Principles of Morals and Legislation which argued for animal rights. Thomas Malthus wrote his famous essay warning that human overpopulation would lead to ecological destruction. Knowledge of global warming began 200 years ago, when Jean Baptiste Fourier calculated that the Earth's atmosphere trapped heat like a greenhouse.

Then, in 1835, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote Nature, encouraging us to appreciate the natural world for its own sake and proposing a limit on human expansion into the wilderness. American Botanist William Bartram and ornithologist James Audubon dedicated themselves to the conservation of wildlife. Henry David Thoreau wrote his seminal ecological treatise, Walden, which has since inspired generations of environmentalists.

Man and nature in the Spessart Mountains, 2017

A few decades later, George Perkins Marsh wrote Man and Nature, denouncing humanity's indiscriminate "warfare" upon wilderness, warning of climate change, and insisting that "The world cannot afford to wait" - a plea we still hear today.

At the end of the 19th century, in Jena, Germany, zoologist Ernst Haeckel wrote Generelle Morphologie der Organismen in which he discussed the relationships among species and coined the word ‘ökologie’ (from the Greek oikos, meaning home), the science we now know as ecology.

In 1892, John Muir founded the Sierra Club in the US to protect the country’s wilderness. Seventy years later, a chapter of the Sierra Club in western Canada broke away to become more active. This was the beginning of Greenpeace.

Environmental action

"That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology," wrote Aldo Leopold in A Sand County Almanac, "but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics ... a thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

Customary landowner, Auwagi Sekapiya, of the Ubei Clan; Kosuo tribe in Papua New Guinea, 2003.  

In the early 20th century, the chemist Alice Hamilton led a campaign against lead poisoning from leaded gasoline, accusing General Motors of willful murder. The corporation attacked Hamilton, and it took governments 50 years to ban leaded gasoline. Meanwhile, industrial smog choked major world cities. In 1952, 4,000 people died in London's infamous killer fog, and four years later the British Parliament passed the first Clean Air Act.

Ecology grew into a full-fledged, global movement with the development of nuclear weapons. Albert Einstein, who felt morally troubled by his contribution to the nuclear bomb, drafted an anti-nuclear manifesto in 1955 with British philosopher Bertrand Russell, signed by ten Nobel Prize winners. The letter inspired the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in the UK - a model for modern, non-violent civil disobedience. In 1958, the Quaker Committee for Non-Violent Action launched two boats - the Golden Rule and Phoenix - into US nuclear test sites, a direct inspiration for Greenpeace a decade later.  

Rachel Carson brought the environmental movement into focus with the 1962 publication of Silent Spring, describing the impact of chemical pesticides on biodiversity. “For the first time in the history of the world," she wrote, "every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals.” Shortly before her death she expressed the emerging ecological ethic in a magazine essay: “It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the Earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.”

Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss cited Silent Spring as a key influence for his concept of ‘Deep Ecology’ - ecological awareness that goes beyond the logic of biological systems to a deep, personal experience of the self as an integrated part of nature.

In The Subversive Science, Paul Shepard described ecology as a "primordial axiom," revealed in ancient cultures, which should guide all human social constructions. Ecology was "subversive" to Shepard because it supplanted human exceptionalism with interdependence.  

The ecology symbol designed by comic artist Ron Cobb

In India, villagers in Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand, inspired by Gandhi and the 18th century Bishnoi Hindus, defended the forest against commercial logging by encircling and embracing trees. Their movement spread across northern India, known as Chipko ("to embrace") - the original tree-huggers.

In 1968, the American writer Cliff Humphrey founded Ecology Action. One media stunt involved Humphrey gathering 60 people in Berkeley, California, to smash his 1958 Dodge Rambler into the street, declaring, “these things pollute the earth.” Prophetically, Humphrey told Greenpeace co-founder Bob Hunter, “This thing has just begun.”

A year later, inspired by the writings of Carson, Shepard, and Naess, and by the actions of Chipko and Ecology Action, a group of Canadian and American activists set out to merge peace with ecology, and Greenpeace was born.

Co-founder Ben Metcalfe commissioned 12 billboard signs around Vancouver that read:


Look it up.

You're involved.

It’s hard to imagine now, but in 1969, most people did have to look it up. Ecology was still not a household word, although it soon would be.

Crew of the Greenpeace, the original voyage to protest nuclear testing in Amchitka, 1971, with the ecology logo on our sail 

In 1977, after two anti-nuclear bomb campaigns and confrontations with Soviet whalers and Norwegian sealers, Greenpeace purchased a retired trawler in London and renamed it the Rainbow Warrior, after a indigenous legend from Canada. The Cree story (recounted in Warriors of the Rainbow, by William Willoya and Vinson Brown) tells of a time when the land, rivers, and air are poisoned, and a group of people from all nations of the world band together to save the Earth.

Nearly a half-century after the foundation of Greenpeace, the global ecology movement has reached every corner of the world, with thousands of groups springing up to defend the environment. Meanwhile, the challenges facing us grow ever more daunting. The next half-century will test whether or not humanity can respond to the challenge.  

Rex Weyler is an author, journalist and co-founder of Greenpeace International.

Resources and Links:

Environmental History Timeline: Radford University

Ramachandra Guha: Environmentalism: A Global History, 2000

The European Society for Environmental History:

Environmental History, Oxford Journals

Donald Worster: Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas, 1977

J. D. Hughes: Ecology in Ancient Civilizations (U. New Mexico Press, 1975): Oxford Academic  

Society for Environmental Journalists:

Letakots-Lesa (Eagle Chief) and Natalie Curtis on Pawnee songs: Entersection

William Willoya and Vinson Brown: Warriors of the Rainbow

Alice Hamilton, MD: Exploring The Dangerous Trades, 1943

Aldo Leopold: Sand County Almanac, 1949

Rachel Carson: Silent Spring, 1962

Barry Commoner: The Closing Circle, 1971

Paul Shepard: The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game, 1973

Gregory Bateson: Mind and Nature, 1978

Roderick Nash: The Rights of Nature, 1989

Deep Ecology for the 21st Century: A good survey of ecology writers, Arne Naess, Chellis Glendinning, Gary Snyder, Paul Shepard, and others

Read more [Greenpeace international]

2017 was second hottest year on record, after sizzling 2016: report

OSLO (Reuters) - Last year was the second hottest worldwide on record, just behind a sweltering 2016, with signs of climate change ranging from wildfires to a thaw of Arctic ice, a European Union monitoring center said on Thursday.
Read more [Reuters]

Corals at risk as underwater heat waves strike more often

OSLO (Reuters) - High ocean temperatures are harming tropical corals almost five times more often than in the 1980s, undermining reefs' ability to survive marine heat waves caused by man-made climate change, scientists said on Thursday.
Read more [Reuters]

2017 was second hottest year on record, after 2016: European data

OSLO (Reuters) - Last year was the second hottest worldwide on record, just behind a sweltering 2016 with signs of climate change ranging from wildfires to a thaw of Arctic ice, a European Union monitoring center said on Thursday.
Read more [Reuters]

Is Japan re-thinking its love of coal?

Could cracks be appearing for the first time in Japan’s commitment to coal fired power?

Greenpeace activists outside the Isogo coal power plant and the Minami-Yokohama gas power plant during the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) meeting in 2014.

The environment minister Masaharu Nakagawa has told a news conference in Tokyo that the export of coal-fired power should be controlled because of the threat of climate change caused by CO2 emissions.

“There is no doubt that the world is shifting to reducing CO2.  As the Ministry of the Environment, we want to think negatively [about exporting coal power plant to Asia],” he said.

"There is no doubt that coal-fired power generation is state-of-the-art technology, but the amount of carbon dioxide emissions is about twice that of natural gas, and the world is in the process of suppressing it.”

Japan is a major funder of so-called “clean coal” technology in Southeast Asia. Minister Nakagawa said that his department did not support this.

“The Environment Ministry is obliged to comply with the government’s overall judgement,” Mr Nakagawa said. “But we do not actively promote [the export of coal-fired power] as the Ministry of the Environment.”

Japan has been turning to fossil fuels since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 and expects coal to provide a quarter of its electricity by 2030, throwing into doubt the country’s emission reductions as part of the Paris Agreement.  

Domestically, Japan plans to build as many as 40 new coal fired power plants. As much as 18 GW of coal is due to come on line between now and 2040, if all permits for new plants are approved. Some independent analysts believe coal could account for as much as 38 percent of electricity by 2030.  

The foreign minister Taro Kono has also raised questions about Japan’s commitment to coal. He was speaking after the One Planet summit in Paris, where he met former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg who warned the Japanese against relying on fossil fuels for their future energy needs.

Mr Kono said Japan could not abandon fossil fuels entirely.  But he acknowledged the potential for renewable energy in Japan, particularly given the plummeting prices and the rapid technological improvements around the world.  

“We have to fairly evaluate renewable energy,” he said.

Japan stands alone as an OECD country with its bullish promotion of coal-fired power. Internationally, it is ranked as the second biggest public financier of coal fired power plants overseas, pouring as much as 10 billion USD into coal projects through infrastructure and development funds.  

All of these projects undermine the stated goal of the Paris Agreement to keep average global temperature rise to well below 2C and strive for 1.5C.

The latest report looking at the biggest lenders for coal-fired power plants around the world shows Japanese banks Mizuho and MUFG  are among the top 10 of coal lenders.  

The growing international criticism of promoting coal-fired power has so far fallen on deaf ears in the Japanese government. Its official development agency, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), insists that funding and facilitating high-efficiency technology in infrastructure projects overseas is part of Japan’s international commitments to addressing climate change.  

But the environment minister has now publicly admitted that even the best of the high-efficiency, low-emission plants emit twice as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as gas-fired power.

The public statements from both ministers are a welcome break from the long-held government ideology that high-efficiency low-emission coal is good for the climate.  

It appears that pressure from civil society and world leaders is finally forcing a re-think in the Japanese government.

Marina Lou is legal council for Greenpeace East Asia and Asia Pacific.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Pentagon strategy document will not include climate change: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Climate change will not be included in an important Pentagon strategy document set to be unveiled in January, the No. 2 official at the U.S. Defense Department said on Thursday.
Read more [Reuters]

2017: Looking back

2017 has been a tough year. We’ve witnessed increased anti-immigration sentiment, a shift toward populism, the rise of far right movements and burgeoning inequality.

But we also saw people standing up in solidarity with others for justice and peace. There was extreme weather that we’ve never seen before: wildfires ravaged southern Europe, hurricanes battered the Americas, and droughts spread around the world.

Civil society groups and non governmental organisations saw the biggest crackdown on human rights and civil liberties in a generation.

Despite the grim realities on the ground and in cyberspace, Greenpeace staff and supporters continued to find moments to speak truth to power.

We continued to fight for a future that is fair, sustainable and benefits everyone, not just a few.

We look to the new year with humility but confidence, resilience and hope.

These victories are made possible with the help of our supporters, volunteers, staff and communities around the globe. Our wins demonstrate the power of collaboration. They show that we are stronger together and together we can continue to grow the movement for a just, peaceful and sustainable future. 

Here is what we all achieved in 2017:


On Trump’s fifth day in office, Greenpeace US deployed a 70ft banner on a construction crane near the White House that read "RESIST" calling for those who want to resist Trump’s attacks on environmental, social, economic and educational justice to contribute to a better America. This one act received great media coverage and created momentum in the RESIST movement.


The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced it would cancel two illegal logging licenses following an investigation by Greenpeace Africa. The forest team probe exposed two logging licences that were given illegally to influential persons. They did this despite a direct threat to their lives.


Greenpeace Southeast Asia revealed HSBC - one of the biggest banks in the world - was funding destructive palm oil companies. We put pressure on HSBC to stop funding deforestation and contributing to human rights violations in Indonesia for palm oil. In March HSBC published a new “no deforestation” policy in a first step toward sustainable palm oil finance and saving the world’s tropical rainforests. HSBC revised its Agricultural Commodities Policy to include “No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation” (NDPE) commitments in its financing of palm oil firms.

In Poland, after a more than 2-year campaign run by GP Poland/Central and Eastern Europe and the local community, the regional environmental authority RDOS issued a formal decision to not grant the environmental permit for the Ościsłowo open cast lignite mine (central Poland) planned by the lignite utility PAK. GP Poland was a formal party to the procedure and provided legal coordination, commissioned and coordinated expert input and ran the grassroots, media and political campaign. Though they won the fight, they expect an appeal.


With more than 170 peaceful protests, marches and festivals in more than 60 countries around the world, the growing movement to Break Free from fossil fuels showed it was tireless, unified and unstoppable. The demonstrations took place over three weeks, with more than 200 civil society groups, communities and more than 61,000 people calling for an end to fossil fuels. They called to limit global warming to 1.5°C and they demanded an immediate and just transition to renewable energy.

Greenpeace East Asia launched a campaign to extend the microplastic ban to all cosmetics and personal care products. 759 stores announced an immediate ban on all products containing microplastic.


In the Philippines, the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) took on the scaling up work of the climate resiliency project which was piloted by Greenpeace Philippines. In partnership with R1, the DA will pilot the implementation in 300 proposed municipalities. This work forms part of the DA's proposed 2018 national budget allocation estimated at Php 450 million (US $ 9 million).


Thanks to the efforts of Greenpeace Switzerland, the cultivation of genetically modified crops (other than for research at secure site) is forbidden in Switzerland until the end of 2021. Working in coalition with beekeepers and the farmers union, we helped make Swiss agriculture a little safer.

South Korean announced a major shift towards renewables by phasing out nuclear and coal. In an ambitious speech, Moon promised to scrap existing plans for new nuclear plants and will not extend the life of old reactors; and promised to shut down 10 old coal power plants and cancel new coal projects.

In response to public pressure from the Rethink IT campaign, Samsung committed in February to refurbish its Note 7 instead of dumping 4.3 million phones with battery faults, and after the Make IT Last push in June, announced that it will start selling 400,000 of them


UNESCO adopted a decision on Białowieża Forest which showed the actions of the Polish Environment Minister threatened the forest’s World Heritage status. UNESCO urged Poland to stop logging in the Białowieża Forest. The decision is based on a report by independent UNESCO experts who visited Białowieża Forest last year. It happened despite pressure from the Polish Ministry of Environment and State Forest Holding, who tried to convince delegates to change their decision. This is a victory for Poland, the Białowieża Forest and the international community. The European Commission announced it will take Poland to the European Court of Justice over the illegal logging of the Bialowieza Forest.

Following a global Greenpeace Campaign, the Thai Union Group PCL (the largest canned tuna company in the world) committed to measures that will tackle illegal fishing and overfishing and improve the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the company’s supply chains. The move is progress for oceans and marine life and for the rights of people working in the seafood industry.  

Greenpeace Africa successfully crowdfunded with 249 backers to install solar street lights in an off-grid urban community in Johannesburg.

Greenpeace UK working with our allies helped to successfully lobby the UK government to enact a ban on microbeads sold in rinse-off cosmetics in the UK.  

In the Clyde River Case the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the Inuit hamlet of Clyde River in a landmark ruling that will have far-reaching and lasting impacts across Canada in terms of Indigenous rights and resource extraction projects, including Arctic oil exploration, tar sands and pipelines.

Greenpeace Russia, Greenpeace Nordic and Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe successfully stopped the loading and testing of two nuclear reactors on board the floating nuclear power plant (FNPP) Akademik Lomonosov in the center of St Petersburg in Russia. A petition and targeted lobbying in Russia, as well as alerting countries around the Baltic Sea delivered a decision by Rosatom to tow the barge unloaded from St Petersburg to Murmansk for loading and testing.


After nearly five years of tireless campaigning by Greenpeace Spain, the Santa Maria Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) was closed. The next steps will lead to dismantling the nuclear power plant which marks the beginning of the end for nuclear power in Spain.

In the wake of the so-called Monsanto Papers and huge media attention, Belgium will ban the sale of herbicides containing glyphosate and some other possible harmful pesticides. Though for private use only, it's an important first step. Greenpeace Belgium has campaigned to remove Roundup and others from stores for two years. 

In March Greenpeace Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland and the United Kingdom unveiled resistance art in the heart of the Belgian operation of Total, in the port of Antwerp. The peaceful protest called for a halt to Total’s plans to drill for oil in the mouth of the Amazon.


Greenpeace East Asia: Under strong pressure from its customers and civil society, Malaysian palm oil company FELDA Global Ventures (FGV) promised to restore over 1,000 hectares of the peat forest in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. This is the first time that a palm oil company has been forced to restore rainforest and peatland to remain a supplier to the global market.


The $300m RICO lawsuit by logging giant, Resolute, which called Greenpeace and a "criminal enterprise", was dismissed. Lawsuits like this are designed to stop civil society from campaigning by draining their time and resources into the case. This dismissal was a victory for those who dare to speak out against corporate abuse. Supporters including more than 200 authors spoke out for free speech, showing that our voices are vital.

Following a two-year campaign against the EU re-approval of glyphosate Greenpeace Austria achieved a massive win. On 3 October the Austrian Parliament passed a motion that firmly states that Austria will vote against any re-approval of glyphosate on EU-level. This is binding for any future government.

In October, Greenpeace UK and Greenpeace US launched a worldwide campaign demanding that Coca-Cola stop choking our oceans, rivers and communities with throw-away plastic bottles. More than 500,000 people have already signed a petition asking Coke CEO James Quincey to dramatically reduce Coke’s global plastic footprint and take responsibility for the end life of its products. The campaign is already reducing the social license of the worst single-use plastics and shifting mindsets from “disposable is normal” to “durable and reusable is normal”, and from “this is an individual's littering problem” to “corporates are responsible and need to take action”.


Ten Greenpeace volunteers who took part in a peaceful protest outside Cuadrilla's fracking site in Lancashire, England, in May and were arrested for Obstruction of the Highway. They were found not guilty. The judge concluded that because there was minimal disruption to the public, because the location of the protest was relevant, because our defendants were of excellent character, because they were polite and calm, and because they had a history of campaigning on this issue and clearly had deeply held beliefs, that they had established a "lawful excuse" for their actions. This is a great result for the anti-fracking community in the UK.      

Greenpeace exists because of people power. The Give the Congo Basin Forest a Chance Ship Tour was a great example of people working together to keep the Congo Basin Forest intact.

The Congo Basin Forest is the second largest rainforest in the world. The Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, began its four week journey in Douala, Cameroon and traveled to Boma and Matadi, Democratic Republic of Congo. The team worked with scientists who shared their findings on petlands which store 30 billion tonnes of carbon the equivalent to three years of global carbon emissions. During the journey, hundreds came to welcome the ship and join the call for forest protection. Thousands of people shared a wish for the Congo Basin Forest, petitioning global leaders to end forest destruction and keep it intact. Their wishes went to delegates at United Nations Climate Change Convention Conference of the Parties (COP23) in Bonn, Germany.                               

The Norwegian government is being sued over a decision to open up areas of the Arctic Ocean for oil exploration, a move that endangers the lives of existing and future generations. The People vs Arctic Oilis a court case where Nature & Youth and Greenpeace Nordic took the Norwegian government to court for opening up new areas in the Arctic to oil and gas drilling. They argue the drilling violates the Norwegian constitution and contravens the Paris Agreement. Winning the case could set a precedent for future climate cases around the world. A verdict is expected in January 2018.


An international agreement to protect the Central Arctic Ocean against all commercial fishing was reached. The US, Canada, Norway, Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, China and the European Union all signed a 16 year moratorium on commercial fishing in international waters covering an area of 2.8 million square kilometers or roughly the size of the Mediterranean Sea.

The University of Ghent decided to fully divest from fossil fuels. Though its investments of €230m does not come close to those of big universities, by excluding the entire fossil fuel industry (as well as the arms, gambling, fur, tobacco and porn industries) from its investments it sets a new standard for divestment. This victory is the result of a local students campaign including GP volunteers and supported by our divestment campaigner. 

After a lot of work with the Indigenous "Kawésqar" community in the south of Chile, the President Michelle Bachelet announced the creation of new Marine Protected Area in Magallanes region. This is a huge step to stop the development of big threats like the intensive salmon farming (300 new concessions proposed here) but also mining and any other polluting project.

In Chile, the Hidroaysén dams project by ENEL and COLBUN in Patagonia Chile is finally over. Both companies have communicated that they (a) liquidate and terminate their joint venture and (b) renounce water rights, that is to say in practical terms, on the right they return the rivers to the public domain. This is the long-awaited formal cancellation of the project and return of the water rights to the people of Chile, the formal victory of one of the biggest and most-iconic environmental campaigns in the history of Chile.

To fight overconsumption and wasteful shopping during the holiday season, thousands of makers around the world joined Greenpeace and its partners Fashion Revolution and Shareable for the MAKE SMTHNG week of action. MAKE SMTHNG Week lasted from Dec 2-10 and saw more than 175 events in 32 countries on 6 continents, with an estimate of over 10,000 people attending workshops and talks on repairing, sharing, zero waste, veganism, upcycling and DIY techniques that breathe new life into already owned products.

(Adapated from the Year end letter to the Greenpeace International Board of Directors.) 

Leola Abraham is communications manager for the Executive Directors at Greenpeace International 

Read more [Greenpeace international]

2018: Tomorrow we rise

What do you do when you’re confronted with the darkness of powerful, but single-minded and ignorant institutions which continue to destroy our planet with impunity?

You shine a light so strong it cuts through the grey clamour of that greedy power and reveals a single word:

We've all been reading the headlines. The onslaught of news stories; lamely quitting globally accepted climate agreements, the banging of war drums for cash, the accusations of sexual misconduct, the corporate bullying, the wanton exploitation of our precious planet – it has all been disheartening and exhausting.

Yet, we did not back down. We did not succumb to disillusionment and apathy.

We have been equal to each and every challenge that has been set against us. Each and every wilful misrepresentation of what we stand for, each and every attempt to ignore the fierce fires and storm warnings of a planet under siege and the myriad of cynical incentives to consume, consume, consume. These false narratives and attempts to hijack our future have not deterred us. Instead, they have galvanised us and drawn us closer together in a common acknowledgement of what we all need to do:

Resist and rise.  

Part of effective resistance is to look ahead. Look at the possibilities that have opened up in front of us because of the challenges we all face. Movements, like #metoo, have reminded us how a single act of courage can be contagious and can lead to much bigger changes in society. 

Rising up means moving quickly to spot opportunities and embrace and encourage solutions. The rapid pace at which wind and solar energy is marginalising those who once tried to marginalise us for daring to dream of a healthier world is an opportunity we all must seize. Rising is about making sure we keep this momentum going as much as it means innovating new ways to make sure our demands are met.

Training young Syrians and Palestinians in solar energy technology

When politicians want to act against climate change, they can leap over the fossil fuel puppets standing in their way. We’ve learned how to encourage and empower real leaders. At home, we’re learning the backstory of the food that ends up on our plates and how that story is either saturated with the chemicals of agribusiness, or infused with the healthy nourishment of sustainable, healthy eco-agriculture. Yes, we can feed the planet in a more healthy and ecologically-friendly way.

We also have learned that in resistance, all acts of courage are equal. One man taking a knee during the anthem of an American football game is just as courageous as collecting the waste on a beach in the Philippines. People of all ages putting their bodies in front of logging machinery in an ancient Polish forest is as powerful as a 12 year-old girl in Canada who asked us, “How do I begin making the world right?”

Kids for forest protest

Courage begins by questioning a contrived and imposed reality. The struggle for that 12 year-old’s future is as much about challenging what we’ve been hard-wired to believe about ourselves – that we need to buy things to feel good, that we are powerless against massive institutions – as it is taking an unequivocal stand against the seemingly powerful entities that want to rip this one and only planet apart to fill their wallets and cling to power.

These, after all, are the very same few people whose falsities we’ve refused to accept as the norm. These are the people trying to convince us that we are powerless. It is their barometer we’re using to measure our self-worth. We know who they are now, so tomorrow we know how to resist them.

Activists conduct a beach clean up and brand audit in the Phillippines

Tomorrow we will continue to reclaim that barometer as we learn to regain trust and love in ourselves and every other living thing. This is how yesterday’s great accomplishments – from exposing shady trade deals, to documenting a vast and previously unknown peatland in the Congo Basin, from establishing vast marine sanctuaries, to holding governments and corporations legally accountable, from finally declaring the retirement of single-use plastic, to loudly ringing the death knell of oil and coal  – become the springboard from which we leap into a healthy, sustainable and renewable future.

And, in the spirit of reclaiming that barometer, let’s not think about our future in terms of years. Let’s think about our future in terms of what we will do tomorrow.

Tomorrow we break the cycle of overconsumption.

Tomorrow we hold corporations accountable. 

Tomorrow we try to decrease the terrible impact of the industrial livestock machine.

Tomorrow, we stand together so that people everywhere are treated a little more equally.

Tomorrow we shake power structures that only serve the few at the expense of the many.

Tomorrow we are positive about our future and will rebuild the planet the way it should be.

Because tomorrow, we resist and we rise.

We'll see you there.

Bunny Mcdiarmid and Jennifer Morgan are the Executive Directors of Greenpeace International

Click here to see what we accomplished in 2017


Read more [Greenpeace international]

RELEASE: New LandMark Data Measure Impacts of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Forests and Climate

RELEASE: New LandMark Data Measure Impacts of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Forests and Climate WASHINGTON (December 20, 2017) — Indigenous Peoples and local communities are the world’s secret weapon to preserve forests and mitigate climate change, and LandMark — the first global platform to provide maps of collectively held indigenous and community lands — helps measure their impact. Today, LandMark, a collaboration between World Resources Institute (WRI) and 12 land rights...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]


RELEASE: India Can Achieve Its Climate Goals While Maintaining Strong Economic Growth

RELEASE: India Can Achieve Its Climate Goals While Maintaining Strong Economic Growth NEW DELHI (DECEMBER 20, 2017) – India can meet and potentially exceed its national climate change goals, finds a new working paper by World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Open Climate Network (OCN). The paper, Pathways For Meeting India’s Climate Goals, shows that India can maintain an annual GDP growth of 6 to 7 percent while taking action on climate. India’s climate goals, adopted under the Paris...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]


Charting a plastic free future in Taiwan

By now, we have all heard about and seen multiple shocking images of plastic pollution in oceans. Whether it’s the seahorse with its tail wrapped around an earbud, or the remote island paradise turned into a plastic nightmare, it’s clear that the world has reached beyond breaking point with this material. 

The Rainbow Warrior in Taiwan

But could things be different in Taiwan when it comes to tackling the plastic problem? In December, I traveled to Taiwan to meet with Greenpeace East Asia (GPEA) supporters, volunteers, donors and the community to learn more about what is happening in the region.

The Greenpeace Ship, Rainbow Warrior was docked in Keelung near Taipei City and during the few days I was there, I had some great discussions with community members. I wanted to know what people thought about single-use plastic. Had they seen the heartbreaking images of the damage single-use plastic was causing in the oceans to marine life and seabirds; had they heard about the impact of tiny microplastic fragments that can end up in our seafood? I wondered if it would be practical for them to change their throwaway and convenience culture lifestyle and change how they consume.  

Jennifer Morgan meets Greenpeace supporters in Taiwan

What surprised me most about our supporters and other local people I met was they were already innovating and finding solutions for a cleaner environment. One supporter told me she was living a plastic-free life and was part of an online community of 19,000 people who shared ideas and tips of how to do this. What seems impossible to many was being made possible by people across Taiwan.

Taiwan made a good start by banning free plastic bags in 2002, which made it one of the first places to start banning free plastic bags. However, there is much more to do. The ban only applies to mainstream shops. Small businesses continue to use plastic bags.

This means people continue to use plastic bags in great numbers. Plastics are made from oil which is a carbon-rich raw material and many of these materials can remain in oceans for centuries.  

If we don’t act now, the problem will worsen. That’s why GPEA is working with schools, communities and engaging the government to achieve a plastic free Taiwan by 2025. The Taiwanese government must urgently set a policy to phase out single-use plastic and become a role model for other countries.

Jennifer Morgan speaks to Greenpeace supporters in Taiwan

Single-use plastic is only one part of the wider problem of plastics and one part of the environmental challenge. In a recent carbon emission report by the Environmental Protection Administration under the Executive Yuan, Taiwan’s carbon emissions have reached their highest level in ten years.

Taiwan’s increasing carbon emissions is driven by high demand in electricity use and the increasing use of coal-fired power plants. But increasing its total fossil fuel usage is in direct conflict with its pledge to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

Taiwan must keep its promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and exit the failing coal industry. Recent CoalSwarm and Greenpeace, research “shows that a total of 23 countries, states and cities will have either phased out coal-fired power plants or set a timeline to do so by 2030.”

To its credit, Taiwan’s government has set a goal of total phase out of nuclear while achieving 20% renewable energy, 30% coal and 50% gas in national energy mix for electricity generation by 2025. The percentage of electricity generated from coal power will decrease gradually from 45.4% in 2016, to 43% in 2020 and then 30% in 2025. The Renewable Energy will increase from 4% to 20%.

While we support the plan to phase out nuclear, decrease coal use and boost renewable energy, and understand there are many challenges to implement the plan, Taiwan must speed up its energy transition to 100% renewable energy and ensure a transition that is just -- for workers and affected communities.   

It is possible to do all of this at once, combining long-term climate and energy goals and smart short-term implementation. With the falling cost of wind and solar, and the myriad of experiences around the world, Taiwan can leapfrog ahead and provide new opportunities for people. 

Jennifer Morgan and the crew of the Rainbow Warrior

This is a critical moment for Taiwan. It is well on its way to an energy transition and eager to set a progressive policy on reducing single use plastic.

Climate change is arguably the biggest threat we face today. If we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, leaders must ramp up their ambition, set clear targets and implement policies.

Equally, it will take people, like the many Greenpeace supporters I met, to continue to use their voices to demand change and ensure that Taiwan remains part of a global network to tackle climate change.

Looking out from the bridge of the Rainbow Warrior, sailing on the Taiwan Strait, I could see that the momentum for change is here and I am hopeful that Taiwan will continue to push forward, to chart a future that will benefit its environment, its people and its economy.

Jennifer Morgan is the Executive Director of Greenpeace International  

Read more [Greenpeace international]

BHP says likely to quit global coal lobby group

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Global miner BHP Billiton said on Tuesday it has taken a preliminary decision to leave the World Coal Association citing disagreement over climate change, and might also withdraw from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over mining industry rules.
Read more [Reuters]

Climate change driving record snows in Alaskan mountains: study

BOSTON (Reuters) - Snowfalls atop an Alaskan mountain range have doubled since the start of the industrial age, evidence that climate change can trigger major increases in regional precipitation, according to research published in the journal Scientific Reports on Tuesday.
Read more [Reuters]

China aims for emission trading scheme in big step vs. global warming

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Tuesday the first phase of its long-awaited nationwide carbon emission trading scheme (ETS) will focus on the power sector, as the government outlined details of what is expected to be the world's largest such program.
Read more [Reuters]

World scientists’ warning to humanity

Environmental activists and organisations typically try and stay positive, to give people hope that we can change. Positive signs exist, going back to the historic whaling and toxic dumping bans of the 1980s. The 1987 Montreal Protocol, reducing CFC gas emissions, led to a partial recovery of the ozone hole. Birth rates have declined in some regions, and forests and freshwater have been restored in some regions. The world's nations have, at least, made promises to reduce carbon emissions, even if action has been slow.

A challenge we face as ecologists and environmentalists, however, is that when we step back from our victories and assess the big picture - the global pace of climate change, forest loss, biodiversity decline - we must admit: our achievements have not been enough.

Children playing near a coal plant in Central Java

25 years ago, in 1992, the Union of Concerned Scientists issued the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” signed by 1,700 scientists, including most living Nobel laureates. They presented disturbing data regarding freshwater, marine fisheries, climate, population, forests, soil, and biodiversity. They warned that “a great change" was necessary to avoid "vast human misery.”

This year, on the 25th anniversary of that warning, the Alliance of World Scientists published a second warning - an evaluation of our collective progress. With the exception of stabilising ozone depletion, they report that "humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse."

A short history of warnings

Environmental awareness is not new. Over 2,500 years ago, Chinese Taoists articulated the disconnect between human civilisation and ecological values. Later Taoist Bao Jingyan warned that "fashionable society goes against the true nature of things… harming creatures to supply frivolous adornments.”

Modern warnings began in the 18th century, at the dawn of the industrial age, particularly from Thomas Malthus, who warned that an exponentially growing population on a finite planet would reach ecological limits. Modern growth advocates have ridiculed Malthus for being wrong, but his logic and maths are impeccable. He did not foresee the discovery of petroleum, which allowed economists to ignore Malthus for two centuries, aggravating the crisis that Malthus correctly identified.

Rachel Carson ignited the modern environmental movement in 1962 with Silent Spring, warning of eminent biodiversity collapse. A decade later, in the early days of Greenpeace, the Club of Rome published The Limits To Growth, using data to describe what we could see with our eyes: declining forests and biodiversity, and resources, clashing head-on with growing human population and consumption demands. Conventional economists mocked the idea of limits, but The Limits to Growth projections have proven accurate.

In 2009, in Nature journal, a group of scientists lead by Johan Rockström published Planetary Boundaries, warning humanity that essential ecological systems – biodiversity, climate, nutrient cycles, and others – had moved beyond ecological limits to critical tipping points.

Melting iceberg in the Southern Ocean 

Three years later, 22 international scientists published a paper called ‘Approaching a State Shift in Earth’s Biosphere’ which warned that human growth had “the potential to transform Earth...  into a state unknown in human experience.” Canadian co-author, biologist Arne Mooers lamented, “humans have not done anything really important to stave off the worst. My colleagues… are terrified.”  

In 2014 Michael Gerst, Paul Raskin, and Johan Rockström published ‘Contours of a Resilient Global Future’ in Sustainability 6, searching for viable future scenarios that considered both the natural limits to growth and realistic targets for human development. They warned that the challenge is "daunting" and that "marginal changes" are insufficient.

Last year, the UN International Resource Panel (IRP), published ‘Global Material Flows and Resource Productivity’ warning nations that global resources are limited, human consumption trends are unsustainable, and that resource depletion will have unpleasant impacts on human health, quality of life, and future development.

This year, the second “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity,” alerted us again that marginal changes appear insignificant and that we are surpassing "the limits of what the biosphere can tolerate without substantial and irreversible harm."

The data speaks

The Alliance of World Scientists researchers tracked data over the last 25 years, since the 1992 warning. They cite some hopeful signs, such as the decline in ozone-depleting CFC gases, but report that, from a global perspective, our "changes in environmental policy, human behavior, and global inequities... are far from sufficient."

Here’s what the data shows:

Ozone: CFC (chlorofluorocarbons) emissions are down by 68% since 1992, due to the 1987 UN Montreal Protocol. The ozone layer is expected to reach 1980 levels by mid-century. This is the good news.

Freshwater: Water resources per capita have declined by 26% since 1992. Today, about one billion people suffer from a lack of fresh, clean water, "nearly all due to the accelerated pace of human population growth" exacerbated by rising temperatures.

Fisheries: The global marine catch is down by 6.4% since 1992, despite advances in industrial fishing technology. Larger ships with bigger nets and better sonar cannot catch fish that are not there.

Ocean dead zones: Oxygen-depleted zones have increased by 75 %, caused by fertilizer runoff and fossil-fuel use. Acidification due to carbon emissions kills coral reefs that act as marine breeding grounds.

Forests: By area, forests have declined by 2.8% since 1992, but with a simultaneous decline in forest health, timber volume, and quality. Forest loss has been greatest where forests are converted to agricultural land. Forest decline feeds back through the ecosystem as reduced carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and freshwater.

Biodiversity: Vertebrate abundance has declined 28.9 %. Collectively, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals have declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012. This is harrowing.

CO2 emissions: Regardless of international promises, CO2 emissions have increased by 62% since 1960.

Temperature change: The global average surface temperature is increasing in parallel to CO2 emissions. The 10 warmest years in the 136-year record have occurred since 1998. Scientists warn that heating will likely cause a decline in the world’s major food crops, an increase in storm intensity, and a substantial sea level rise, inundating coastal cities.

Population: We’ve put 2 billion more humans on this planet since 1992 - that’s a 35 % increase. To feed ourselves, we’ve increased livestock by 20.5 %. Humans and livestock now comprise 98.5% of mammal biomass on Earth. The scientists stress that we need to find ways to stabilise or reverse human population growth. "Our large numbers," they warn, "exert stresses on Earth that can overwhelm other efforts to realise a sustainable future"

Soil: The scientists report a lack of global data, but from national data we can see that soil productivity has declined around the world (by up to 50% in some regions), due to nutrient depletion, erosion, and desertification. The EU reports losing 970 million tonnes of topsoil annually to erosion. The US Department of Agriculture estimates 75 billion tons of soil lost annually worldwide, costing nations $400 billion (€340 billion) in lost crop yields.  

The pending question   

"We are jeopardising our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption," the scientists warn, "and by not perceiving ... population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and societal threats.”

The Alliance of World Scientists report offers some hope, in the form of steps that we can take to begin a more serious transition to sustainability:   

  • Expand well-managed reserves - terrestrial, marine, freshwater, and aerial - to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem services.  

  • Restore native plant communities, particularly forests, and native fauna species, especially apex predators, to restore ecosystem integrity.

  • End poaching, exploitation, and trade of threatened species.

  • Reduce food waste and promote dietary shifts towards plant-based foods.

  •  Increase outdoor nature education and appreciation for children and adults.

  • Divest from destructive industries and invest in genuine sustainability. That means phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels, and adopting renewable energy sources on a large scale.

  • Revise economic systems to reduce wealth inequality and account for the real costs that consumption patterns impose on our environment.  

  • Reduce the human birth-rate with gender-equal access to education and family-planning.

These proposed solutions are not new, but the emphasis on population is important, and often overlooked. Some environmentalists avoid discussing human population, since it raises concerns about human rights. We know that massive consumption by the wealthiest 15% of us is a fundamental cause of the ecological crisis. Meanwhile, the poorest individuals consume far less than their fair share of available resources.

Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

As an ecologist, I feel compelled to ask myself: if the last 50 years of environmental action, research, warnings, meetings, legislation, regulation, and public awareness has proven insufficient, despite our victories, then what else do we need to do?

That question, and an integrated, rigorous, serious answer, needs to be a central theme of the next decade of environmentalism.

Rex Weyler is an author, journalist and co-founder of Greenpeace International.

Resources and Links:

World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice; eight authors and 15,364 scientist signatories from 184 countries; BioScience, W.J. Ripple, et. al., 13 November 2017

List of 15,364 signatories from 184 Countries: Oregon State University     

Alliance of World Scientists:  Oregon State University

Recovery of Ozone depletion after Montreal Protocol: B. Ewenfeldt, "Ozonlagret mår bättre", Arbetarbladet 12 September, 2014.  

Fertility rate reduction in some regions: UN  

Accuracy of Limits to Growth Study: "Is Global Collapse Imminent? An Update to Limits to Growth with Historical Data," Graham Turner, 2014): Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute  

“Contours of a Resilient Global Future,” Michael Gerst, Paul Raskin, and Johan Rockström,  Sustainability 6, 2014.

Arithmetic, Population, and Energy: Albert Bartlett video lecture on exponential growth

William Rees, The Way Forward: Survival 2100, Solutions Journal, human overshoot and genuine solutions. 

Johan Rockström, et. al., “Planetary Boundaries,” Nature, September 23, 2009.

Anthony D. Barnosky, et. al., “Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere,” Nature, June 7, 2012.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

3 Things Companies Can Do in 2018 to Push Global Climate Action

3 Things Companies Can Do in 2018 to Push Global Climate Action Comments|Add Comment|PrintHundreds of companies have committed to use 100 percent renewable power. Photo by Out.of.focus/Flickr td { padding:10px; border-right:1px solid white; vertical-align: middle; } td { padding-left:10px; padding-top:8px; padding-bottom:8px; } tr:nth-child(odd) {background: #fff;} tr:nth-child(even) {background: rgb(255,228,175);} /*-->*/ Companies stepped up on climate change in 2017. In 2018, they...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]


Oasis star Liam Gallagher lends voice to Christmas climate change campaign

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Oasis front man Liam Gallagher has lent his distinctive voice to a Christmas-themed video produced by an activist group highlighting climate change.
Read more [Reuters]

Q&A with Andrew Steer: China Plays Big Climate Role on Global Stage

Q&A with Andrew Steer: China Plays Big Climate Role on Global Stage Comments|Add Comment|PrintElectric vehicles in Anyang, China. Photo by V.T. Poywoda/Flickr On the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement, Andrew Steer, president and CEO of WRI, told China Daily's Cui Shoufeng how the global fight against climate change should move forward after U.S. withdrawal from the climate accord. This article originally appeared on China Daily. Will U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement dampen...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]


Exxon deal aside, tough proxy season looms at U.S. energy firms

BOSTON/HOUSTON (Reuters) - Climate activists said on Tuesday they would take a tough shareholder resolution off the table at Exxon Mobil Corp after the company agreed to provide new details about how climate change could affect its business.
Read more [Reuters]

The following articles are automatically syndicated feeds about global warming (climate change) from other sites.


XML feed