Forced Migration, Update from Bonn & Wind, Wind, Wind

June 16th, 2009


A major government report on climate change impacts here in the United States is released – but while government scientists are raising the alarm, the US delegation at the international climate talks seems to be dragging its feet.

Joining host Mike Tidwell with this week’s Copenhagen Countdown is Karen Orenstein of the Friends of the Earth, Angela Anderson of the US Climate Action Network and Lou Leonard of the World Wildlife Fund.

Forced migration is an idea being floated by conservation biologists that would move plants and animals to new locations to protect them from extinction due to climate change. Professor Jessica Hellmann of the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana.

The world’s largest wind company is headquartered in a tiny country not know for being windy. We’ll hear from Roby Roberts of the wind turbine manufacturer Vestas.

Image used courtesy of aqui-ali via Flickr.

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One Response to “Forced Migration, Update from Bonn & Wind, Wind, Wind”

  1. David Lewis Says:

    I wish people would drop this 2 degree C talk and start talking about stabilizing the composition of the atmosphere, so that one day the climate might stabilize.

    They predicted 450 ppm might limit global warming to 2 degrees C before it was observed that CO2 levels were increasing radically faster than any model predicted, in part, it is thought, due to some change in the ability of the planetary system to absorb CO2. The prediction was made and became the international touchstone before the summer ice started disappearing in the Arctic decades before anyone thought it was going to happen. And it was made before the Hansen group announced their studies indicated that 450 ppm is, in fact, “a recipe for global catastrophe”. If this was a war we were discussing, everyone at the negotiations would be negotiating using information that was years old and obsolete, and everyone would be officially pretending that the latest studies didn’t exist. Why is this charade going on in the climate debate?

    The US “long term” position, in other countries, would be dismissed as zero action now and let our descendants see if they want to actually live up to what we commit them to.

    The Australians are in the process of defeating their cap and trade bill which seems to go farther than Waxman-Markey, because people started adding up how much money is actually going to end up being transferred from taxpayers to the big polluters, and people started comparing the statements the energy companies were making to the Australian Senate, and to their own stockholders and the markets and they found that either the companies are breaking Australian law that requires them to inform the markets of major changes to their operating conditions, or they are lying to the Senate about how the cap and trade bill causes a major change to their operating environment, so the political coalition supporting the cap and trade bill fell apart. I.e. the companies were telling the Senate it was the end of the world, so the government radically increased the benefits flowing to them under the terms of the bill, yet they were telling the markets they were going to treble coal production, its boom times ahead, without a word about the supposed end of the world. Australian radio podcast discussion of the politics

    Someone should add up what those permits that are being given away to the US coal companies will end up being worth. The Economist magazine casually mentions a figure in the hundreds of billions of dollars. When it dawns on the ordinary American that this is what the Obama plan to deal with climate change is, to hand over hundreds of billions of dollars worth of permits in exchange for no action for decades, to the very people who have kept us from taking action for decades with their coordinated lobbying effort worldwide, why will they be willing to support it?

    If Angela is correct in saying the Obama team intends to commit the US to an 85% cut to the 1990 US emission levels by 2050, it seems clear that even that is not going to stabilize the composition of the atmosphere, never mind how many people are telling themselves and everyone else that “science” would support aiming for steadily increasing the forces driving global warming in each and every year from now until 2050 and still be increasing them at that point.

    (Take the tonnes emitted in the US in 1990, reduce to 15%, divide by the projected US population in 2050, take the resulting per capita 2050 American figure and multiply by the projected global population, and you end up with more than one half of todays emissions).

    The Joint Science Academies 2008 statement handed to each head of state attending the G8 is something that gets very close to parts of what scientists believe, and it states that the composition of the atmosphere needs to be stabilized, and indicates that to do that it will be necessary to reduce emissions to less than one half of today’s. It speaks of limiting emissions to what the planetary system can absorb, not of some fairy tale people tell each other that we can limit warming to 2 degrees without at any point halting the increase in concentration of the gases responsible.

    May I quote Bill Maher? He isn’t known for his expertise on climate, but perhaps this is why I find his remarks on climate right now to be interesting. Will Americans come to agree with him? He said this on his latest show:

    “And scientists keep saying if we want to keep on living, you know, on Earth, its kind of essential to cut CO2 s by 40% in the next ten years – Obama’s bill – its calling for 4%. And this is not getting the job done, and this is not what I voted for. …Speaking of Republicans, if you can’t shove some real reform down their throats now, then when? Barack Obama needs to start putting it on the line in fights against the banks, the energy companies, and the health care industry. ”

    Bill Maher, closing remarks, Episode #157, “Real Time with Bill Maher”, June 12 2009

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