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Must-read op-ed from Graham Readfearn in The Guardian ...
'Doubt over climate science is a product with an industry behind it'
It’s a product that you can find in newspaper columns and TV talk shows and in conversations over drinks, at barbecues, in taxi rides and in political speeches.
You can find this product in bookstores, on sponsored speaking tours, in the letters pages of local newspapers and even at United Nations climate change talks.
This product is doubt - doubt about the causes and impacts of climate change, the impartiality of climate scientists, the world’s temperature records, the height of the oceans and basic atmospheric physics.
There’s doubt too about the “agenda” of policy makers and government environment agencies and a continued attempt to politicise climate science as “leftist”.
There’s also doubt over the role renewable energy might play now and in the future.
Yet where it matters most, in the leading scientific journals in the world, any doubt that burning fossil fuels is causing the planet to heat up is almost nowhere to be seen ...
As I wrote for The Guardian last week, in 1998 a leaked American Petroleum Institute memo detailed how a dozen fossil fuel lobbyists, think tank associates and PR professionals had come together for a mass scale misinformation project on climate science.
The memo claimed that “victory” would be achieved when “uncertainties” (read: doubt) became part of the conventional wisdom among the public.
As detailed in my piece, many of the same individuals continue to work in the climate science doubt production industry while defending fossil fuels.
Read the op-ed in full at www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2015/mar/05/doubt-over-climate-science-is-a-product-wit...
Image: Pumpjacks at Lost Hills Oil Field, California, by Arne Hückelheim ... See MoreSee Less
14 hours ago ·
Palm Oil Production Fueling South-East Asia’s Haze Events
WASHINGTON (March 4, 2015) – A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) links unsustainable palm oil production practices with significant air pollution in Southeast Asia in the form of debilitating haze. The report, “Clearing the Air: Palm Oil, Peat Destruction, and Air Pollution,” outlines how palm oil production practices, including deforestation, landscape fires and draining peatlands, contribute to toxic air pollution and haze, which in turn cause severe health and economic ramifications.
“Now that palm oil is a common ingredient in everything from muffins to moisturizers, the demand for palm oil is increasing. In the scramble to meet demand, some oil palm plantations are using practices that contribute to climate change, endanger human health and weaken the economy,” said Lael Goodman, analyst for the Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative and author of the report. “Ultimately, these unsustainable practices are making a lot of people sick.”
According to the report, fires are often intentionally set to clear vegetation and debris from agricultural fields and peatlands, areas of carbon-rich, decayed vegetation. While cost-effective fires are 30 to 98 percent cheaper than mechanical techniques, even small fires can easily burn out of control and become large-scale landscape fires.
With land at a premium, growers are increasingly cultivating oil palm on peatlands. These swampy soils have high water tables and store significant amounts of carbon. To develop peatlands, the land must be drained, releasing the carbon and contributing the climate change. The dried peat then becomes highly flammable. Fires set on peatland can burn on the surface and underground. Once a sub-surface fire is ignited, the fire can burn horizontally – at times without burning the surface. Due to its flammable nature, peat fires can burn for weeks, months or even years.
Full story at www.ucsusa.org/clearing-the-air-0472#.VPhYlHvX69s
#palmoil #Indonesia #climate #deforestation
Image: Land clearance by fire in East Kalimantan, Indonesia (c) EIA ... See MoreSee Less
18 hours ago ·
Cooperation vital to combating wildlife crime, says UN Assembly President
The President of the United Nations General Assembly called today [March 4] for a coordinated international response to the trafficking of wildlife that took aim at the both the supply and demand side of poaching and the illegal trade in animals.
“We need to strengthen our commitment and enhance cooperation among Member States, the United Nations system, NGOs and civil society to curb wildlife crime,” said Sam Kutesa (Uganda) as the Assembly commemorated World Wildlife Day. “We should do more to promote adequate national legislation, improve intelligence sharing and border controls, strengthen global, regional and national enforcement, improve capabilities to combat poaching and illegal trafficking, among other initiatives.”
Mr. Kutesa underlined the impact that illegal trafficking, pointing to its effects on the resource base of local communities and entire nations, undermining human welfare, legitimate business and government institutions.
“It also compromises efforts towards sustainable development and poverty eradication,” he said ...
Those comments were echoed by Jan Eliasson, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, who also made remarks at the event to commemorate the Day.
“There is growing evidence of the increased involvement in this illicit and insidious trade by organized crime networks and non-State armed groups,” he said. “Illegal wildlife trade has become a mushrooming transnational form of crime, following in the footsteps of other pernicious examples, such as trafficking in human beings, in drugs and in counterfeit items.”
Mr. Eliasson said the issue was a grave economic, social and security challenge and concern, and pointed to the threat it posed to all three pillars of the UN – peace and security, sustainable development and human rights.
Full story at www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=50240&Cr=animal&Cr1=#.VPhEtnvX69s
#UN #poaching #crime
Image: Yunnan Forest Police in China showcase wildlife products seized in 2013, via Chinanews.com ... See MoreSee Less
19 hours ago ·