Global warming news

Forests: The Cinderella of Climate Solutions

Forests: The Cinderella of Climate Solutions Comments|Add Comment|PrintThe story of Cinderella is a metaphor for the underappreciated role forests play in climate change mitigation. Photo by Elena Ringo/Wikimedia Commons Earth Day provides a timely opportunity to reflect on all the things that forests do for us – not least helping to stabilize the climate – and how little we seem to appreciate them.  Last November at “Forests Day” held on the sidelines of the UN climate negotiations in...

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STATEMENT: UK Calls on Advisory Body to Scope 'Zero Emissions' Climate Target

STATEMENT: UK Calls on Advisory Body to Scope 'Zero Emissions' Climate Target WASHINGTON (April 17, 2018) - This morning Claire Perry, UK Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, asked the Committee on Climate Change to review the country's 2050 greenhouse gas target in light of the latest climate science, indicating that the country may be on its way to set a net zero emissions target that would align with the Paris Agreement. Following is a statement from Andrew Steer,...

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BP aims to keep carbon emissions flat into 2025

LONDON (Reuters) - BP said on Monday it will keep carbon emissions flat over the decade to 2025 even as its oil and gas ouput is set to grow, responding to rising investor pressure to help tackle climate change.
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Shell defends climate strategy in clash with investors

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell defended its ambition to cut carbon emissions on Monday, urging investors to oppose a shareholder resolution arguing that the oil and gas giant is not doing enough to meet international targets to tackle climate change.
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Massachusetts top court rules against Exxon in climate change probe

BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts' top court on Friday rejected Exxon Mobil Corp's bid to block the state's attorney general from obtaining records to investigate whether the company for decades concealed its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in climate change.
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A Data Drought Hampers Cities from Acting on Climate Change

A Data Drought Hampers Cities from Acting on Climate Change Comments|Add Comment|PrintCities are responsible for 70 percent of global emissions. Flickr/Stefan Georgi Imagine you're a local sustainability officer developing an initiative to reduce emissions. But you don't know how many emissions the city produces, or where they're coming from. You don't know who the city's biggest energy users are, how many cars are on the road, or the amount of waste produced every year. And even if you can set...

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Global Shipping Sector Steps Up, Sets Climate Targets And Bans Use Of Heavy Fuel Oil In Arctic

LONDON, UK (13 April 2018) - In a landmark step forward for the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) today agreed to climate targets for the sector, as part of its first comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction strategy. The global maritime regulator also agreed to ban heavy fuel oil in the Arctic, a region on the frontline of the impacts of climate change, and to tackle the growing problem of ocean plastics.
 
Climate Targets
The agreement on climate targets comes after years of negotiations in the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee, and two years after the world lauded the approval of the Paris Agreement, which did not regulate shipping emissions.
 
The IMO agreement calls for a strategy for controlling greenhouse gas emissions from the global shipping sector, with a target of 50 per cent emissions reductions by 2050 from 2008, and efforts to achieve complete decarbonization of the sector. While it is short of the 70-100 per cent emission reductions that the Pacific islands and many other countries called for, the goal marks a promising step forward by the shipping sector to play its part in limiting warming to 1.5°C.
 
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy programme, said: "This is very welcome news, a good first step and an important policy signal. Shipping is responsible for more than 2 per cent of global emissions, and this is growing. The agreement today is an opportunity to bend this curve to align with the Paris Agreement, but it needs to translate into urgent action - now."
 
Mark Lutes, WWF senior global climate policy advisor, said the decision sends a strong signal to the shipping industry and fuel suppliers that they need to scale up investments in new technologies and their rapid deployment, including alternative fuels and propulsion systems.
 
"The next five years are crucial, and action must start with bold decisions at the next IMO meeting later this year. They must agree on measures that can be implemented immediately, like upgrading efficiency standards for new ships, sourcing low and zero emission fuels, and stimulating a reduction in ship speeds, which translates directly to greater efficiency and low fuel use."
 
Heavy Fuel Oil
Another area of progress was the IMO's move towards a ban of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic. Given the severe risks a heavy fuel oil spill poses to polar environments, the IMO has already banned its use and carriage in the Antarctic. Member states committed to take into account the impacts of a ban on communities in the Arctic.
 
Andrew Dumbrille, WWF-Canada sustainable shipping specialist, said: "It's not a question of 'if' but rather 'when' a ban on HFO should be put in place. With the Arctic facing growing risks from oil spills and black carbon emissions from ships, the marine sector needs to quickly transition away from polluting fuels like HFO. WWF calls on member states to make every effort to adopt and rapidly implement a ban by 2021, without burdening communities with the costs."
          
Ocean Plastic
The IMO also agreed to take action on shipping's contribution to the increasingly severe issue of global plastic and microplastic pollution.

Dr. Simon Walmsley, WWF's Senior Advisor, Arctic Sustainable Development, said: "Although this is a global issue, significant amounts of plastic end up in the Arctic due to the Northerly converging currents. We are pleased that fishing vessels are included to address things like abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear. It is critical that the IMO is successful in ending shipping's contribution to this significant pollution source. Through this action plan on plastics the IMO is acknowledging the important role it plays in helping achieve global sustainable development goals."
 
---ends---
 
FOR EDITORS

  1. Global shipping and aviation emissions are not controlled by the Paris Agreement as they are not included in national targets. They are included in its emission and temperature objectives.
  2. If the global shipping sector were a country, it would be the world's 6th largest emitter, responsible for over 2 per cent of global emissions.
  3. At its next meeting on greenhouse gas emissions later this year, the IMO must agree on measures that can be implemented immediately, like upgrading efficiency standards for new ships and stimulating a reduction in ship speeds, which translates directly to greater efficiency and lower fuel use and emissions.
  4. HFO is one of the world's dirtiest fuels and produces higher levels of air and climate pollutants than other marine fuel.
  5. As part of the agreement by IMO members on an HFO ban, an impact assessment will be conducted to ensure a ban does not place an unnecessary burden on Arctic communities.

 
For further information and to request interviews, contact:
 
Mandy Jean Woods
WWF International Climate & Energy Practice mwoods@wwfint.org (based in Berlin)
 
Leanne Clare
WWF- Arctic Programme lclare@wwfcanada.org (based in Ottawa)

 
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U.N. chief says countries need to rise to challenge of climate change

BOAO, China (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday that countries need to rise to the challenge of climate change.
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4 Ways Companies Can Price Carbon: Lessons from India That Can Work Anywhere

4 Ways Companies Can Price Carbon: Lessons from India That Can Work Anywhere Comments|Add Comment|PrintLeading companies in India are addressing national climate goals by setting an internal price on their carbon emissions. Photo by Ray Witlin/World Bank The Indian government has adopted some of the world’s most ambitious renewable energy targets, which are a centerpiece of its strategy to address climate change. Now, 40 Indian companies are joining the national effort by setting a price on...

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Developing nations to study ways to dim sunshine, slow warming

OSLO (Reuters) - Scientists in developing nations plan to step up research into dimming sunshine to curb climate change, hoping to judge if a man-made chemical sunshade would be less risky than a harmful rise in global temperatures.
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U.S. judge dismisses Exxon lawsuit to stop climate change probes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday dismissed Exxon Mobil Corp's lawsuit seeking to stop New York and Massachusetts from probing whether the oil and gas company covered up its knowledge about climate change and lied to investors and the public about it.
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Earth Hour 2018: Globe unites to celebrate people's connection to our planet

SINGAPORE, 25 March 2018 – Individuals, businesses and organizations in a record 188 countries and territories worldwide joined WWF's Earth Hour to spark unprecedented conversation and action on stopping the loss of nature, a day after 550 scientists warned of a 'dangerous decline' in global biodiversity.

Close to 18,000 landmarks switched off their lights in solidarity as people across the globe generated over 3.5 billion impressions of #EarthHour, #connect2earth and related hashtags to show their concern for the planet. The hashtags trended in 33 countries.
 
"Once again, the people have spoken through Earth Hour," said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. "The record participation in this year's Earth Hour, from skylines to timelines, is a powerful reminder that people want to connect to Earth. People are demanding commitment now on halting climate change and the loss of nature. The stakes are high and we need urgent action to protect the health of the planet for a safe future for us and all life on Earth."

From Colombia to Indonesia to Fiji, Earth Hour 2018 mobilized people to join efforts to protect forests and mangroves. In Romania, hundreds of people showed their commitment to safeguarding nature by writing symbolic letters to rivers, forests and wildlife. In Africa, 24 countries celebrated Earth Hour to highlight the most pressing conservation challenges they face such as access to renewable energy, freshwater resources and habitat degradation.

This Earth Hour, for the first time, people across the globe also joined the conversation on connect2earth to share what nature means to them, in the places they live in and care about. The platform, created in partnership with the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity and supported by Germany's Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety with funding from the International Climate Initiative, aims to build mass awareness on the values of biodiversity and nature to our lives, health and well-being.

"The science is clear: the loss of nature is a global crisis. Wildlife has declined by close to 60 per cent in just over 40 years. Our planet is at a crossroads and we cannot have a prosperous future on a depleted, degraded planet. Together as a global community we can turn things around. People must mobilize and join governments and companies toward stronger action on biodiversity and nature - the time to act is now," added Lambertini.

The impacts of accelerating biodiversity loss and climate change on the planet are profound, as are the consequences for humanity. As President of France Emmanuel Macron stated in a special message for Earth Hour, 'the time for denial is long past, we are losing our battle against climate change and the collapse of biodiversity'. If this trend continues, our planet's ecosystems will collapse, along with the clean air, water, food and stable climate that they provide.

To drive further global awareness and action on nature and the environment, WWF has also joined forces with the World Organization of the Scout Movement this Earth Hour. The energy and voices of 50 million Scouts worldwide send a resounding message to decision-makers worldwide that the time to act on nature, for nature is now.

As the hour rolls to a close in the Pacific Ocean's Cook Islands, WWF and Earth Hour teams around the world will continue to empower individuals, communities, businesses and governments to be a part of environmental action. In his video statement for Earth Hour, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated the need for people to work together to build a sustainable future for all. Strengthened by the support shown this weekend, teams will renew the charge to tackle issues such as sustainable lifestyles, deforestation, plastic pollution and ocean conservation across continents.

Earth Hour 2018: Facts and figures (based on initial estimates on 25 March 2018, 7:30 a.m. GMT):

  • 188 countries and territories focused on environmental action and issues such as protecting biodiversity, sustainable lifestyles, deforestation, plastics and stronger climate policy;
  • lights out at around 17,900  landmarks including the Sydney Opera House (Sydney), Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (London), the Tokyo Sky Tree (Tokyo), the Empire State Building (New York), the Pyramids of Egypt (Cairo), Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Abu Dhabi), Christ the Redeemer statue (Rio de Janeiro) and the Eiffel Tower (Paris);
  • 3.5 billion + impressions of official campaign hashtags between January and March 2018. Related hashtags also trended in 33 countries;
  • Around 250 celebrities and influencers worldwide also raised their voice for the planet including Andy Murray, Jared Leto, Ellie Goulding, The Killers, Amitabh Bachchan, Li Bingbing, Park Seo-joon, Claudia Bahamon, and Roger Milla;
  • Earth Hour partners include Zinkia Entertainment Ltd, creators of popular cartoon character Pocoyo, and crowdsourcing platform Userfarm.
Since 2007, Earth Hour has mobilized businesses, organizations, governments and hundreds of millions of individuals to act for a sustainable future. Earth Hour 2019 will take place on Saturday 30 March 2019 at 8:30 p.m. local time.

---ends---

Notes to Editors:
Images from Earth Hour events around the world can be found here and please contact news@wwfint.org for any additional video footage request.

You can also find Earth Hour videos on the links indicated below:To know more about WWF's work on biodiversity, please visit: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/biodiversity/

What is connect2earth? Read more here.

Connect2earth.org was created in partnership with the secretariat of the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity and supported by Germany's Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety with funding from the International Climate Initiative.

For more information, please contact:
Julien Anseau, WWF International, Singapore: news@wwfint.org; +6590601957
Rucha Naware, WWF International, Brussels: news@wwfint.org; +32465751339 
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Britain blocks plans for new coal mine on climate grounds

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has rejected plans for a new open cast coal mine in northeastern England, as it could hamper efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change, the minister for local government said on Friday.
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Macron pushes for EU minimum price for carbon

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe must set a minimum price for carbon, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday, something that would require a new tax on imports from non-EU countries that are not doing enough to tackle climate change.
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Chevron says it will not dispute climate science in U.S. lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A Chevron attorney said in court on Wednesday that the company supports scientific conclusions that humans are causing climate change, a response to a lawsuit that accuses five major energy producers of misleading the public for years about their role in global warming.
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U.S. judge to question Big Oil on climate change

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Five of the world's biggest energy producers will be questioned by a federal judge on Wednesday about climate change science, part of a lawsuit that accuses the companies of misleading the public for years about their role in global warming.
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McDonald's sets greenhouse gas reduction targets

(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp on Tuesday announced an approved, science based target to cut greenhouse gas emissions and battle climate change, saying it is the first restaurant company to do so.
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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.
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Taking Greenhouse Gases from the Sky: 7 Things to Know About Carbon Removal

Taking Greenhouse Gases from the Sky: 7 Things to Know About Carbon Removal Comments|Add Comment|PrintRestoring degraded landscapes like this one in Costa Rica is a natural way of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Photo by Luciana Gallardo Lomeli/WRI With greenhouse gas emissions climbing and climate impacts becoming increasingly severe, the urgency to address climate change has never been greater. Many of the solutions to date have focused on mitigation—ways to slash emissions as...

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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.
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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.
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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."

-Ends-

For further information, please contact
Alexander Stafford
+44 (0)1483 412332
07742 093510
astafford@wwf.org.uk
 
For questions about the Climatic Change paper, contact Rachel Warren, +44(0)1603 593912 r.warren@uea.ac.uk 
 
For questions about the full WWF report, contact Jeff Price, +44(0)1603 592561 jeff.price@uea.ac.uk
 
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 (http://wallaceinitiative.org), 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 panda.org 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. www.uea.ac.uk 
  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. www.tyndall.ac.uk
 [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
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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 wwf.org.za

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.
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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:
 
WWF:
Theresa Gral, Media Officer, WWF Austria, theresa.gral@wwf.at, +43 676 834 88 216
Mandy Jean Woods, Communications Manager, WWF Climate & Energy Practice, mwoods@wwfint.org
 
Mondi:
Jennifer Buley, Group Communication & Marketing, Mondi, jennifer.buley@mondigroup.com
 
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. www.climatesavers.org
 
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 panda.org/news 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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....

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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 PREPdata.org 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...

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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.
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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.
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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.
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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 www.protecttheantarctic.org

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.
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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.
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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.
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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:

Ecology

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: ESEH.org

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: sej.org

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


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