OUR BURNING PLANET: Don’t sweat about Earth, just save your children

2019/09/16 02:23:00

OUR BURNING PLANET: Don’t sweat about Earth, just save your children By Tiara Walters

OUR BURNING PLANET: Don’t sweat about Earth, just save your children By Tiara Walters

Launching Daily Maverick’s Our Burning Planet climate journalism unit in Cape Town, former Irish president Mary Robinson, Amnesty International’s Kumi Naidoo and journalist Kevin Bloom painted a picture of a civilisation that could remake itself from the opportunity that the crisis brings.

, have also been linked to the record mercury. Welcome to the Pyrocene.And it’s only 2019.“and 22It’s pathetic that our children are protesting on the streets and doing what their parents should have done…We have to recognise the window is extremely small and it’s closing fast. We have to recognise that nature does not negotiate and we cannot change the science,” said Naidoo. “But as we race to meet the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced, which is to secure a viable future for our children, we’re going to have fun, be optimistic and get creative.”

Read more:
Daily Maverick »

Crypto podcasts on Moneyweb

The latest Crypto podcasts on Moneyweb Read more >>

OUR BURNING PLANET OP-ED: ‘Own fossil fuels and you own climate change’ – a possible future crime against humanityAmid growing international calls for the burning of fossil fuels to be made a crime against humanity, South Africans have been reminded how much public and private funds still prop up carbon polluters. But the argument for disinvesting from fossil fuel isn’t just a moral imperative; growing awareness of the financial risks of staying invested in a dying industry is driving capital flight from coal, oil and gas.

Water found in atmosphere of planet beyond our solar system - SABC News - Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader.Scientists for the first time have detected water in the atmosphere of an Earth-like planet orbiting a distant star, evidence that a key ingredient for life exists beyond our solar system, according to a study published on Wednesday.

OUR BURNING PLANET OP-ED: ‘Own fossil fuels and you own climate change’ – a possible future crime against humanityAmid growing international calls for the burning of fossil fuels to be made a crime against humanity, South Africans have been reminded how much public and private funds still prop up carbon polluters. But the argument for disinvesting from fossil fuel isn’t just a moral imperative; growing awareness of the financial risks of staying invested in a dying industry is driving capital flight from coal, oil and gas.

Water found in atmosphere of planet beyond our solar system - SABC News - Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader.Scientists for the first time have detected water in the atmosphere of an Earth-like planet orbiting a distant star, evidence that a key ingredient for life exists beyond our solar system, according to a study published on Wednesday.

Cyclone aftermath: More than 150k children need food in neighbouring MozambiqueOne million people, including more than 150,000 children under the age of five, are facing food shortages in storm-affected areas in Mozambique, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

worst ever month for deforestation in the Amazon , a critical carbon sink, while millions of irreplaceable forest hectares went up in smoke in the basin.Save “ There is no room for compromise anymore.Earth-like planet Image: Reuters Water vapor was found in the atmosphere of K2-18b, one of hundreds of “super-Earths” - worlds ranging in size between Earth and Neptune - documented in a growing new field of astronomy devoted to the exploration of so-called exoplanets elsewhere in the Milky Way galaxy Scientists, for the first time, have detected water in the atmosphere of an Earth-like planet orbiting a distant star, evidence that a key ingredient for life exists beyond our solar system, according to a study published on Wednesday.Save “ There is no room for compromise anymore.

Even more exceptionally, boreal wildfires in the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, Russia and even Greenland have churned out monstrous plumes at least the size of the European Union. Fire-igniting thunderstorms cracking over the Arctic, a sitting tinder box , have also been linked to the record mercury. Its output is a destroyer. Welcome to the Pyrocene. The latest discovery was reported in research by a team of scientists at University College London (UCL) published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Astronomy. In short, the Pale Blue Dot as we’ve come to take it for granted is reeling under the extra 40% of CO 2 we’ve pumped into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. Given what we know about the extent of climate collapse, any new investment in fossil fuel projects is an investment in the death of our children. And it’s only 2019. Sasol must be told that.

‘ Let’s get our shit together’ The key, suggested Naidoo, is to appreciate that much current environmentalism is lost in misplaced hubris.” There are the words of Amnesty International secretary-general Kumi Naidoo, speaking at the start of an international fossil fuel divestment summit in Cape Town recently. Angelos Tsiaras, an astronomer at UCL, said the team is focusing its attention on identifying exoplanets with conditions similar to those on Earth. Mother Earth needs human beings to exercise their notions of cultural dominion over her as little as she needs us to save her. “ If we continue on this path, we warm our planet such that it immediately erodes our social and economic rights — which is what Amnesty is seeing wherever we work. Sasol is one of the reasons South Africa is the biggest carbon polluter on the continent and ranked the globally. The result is no food, no water. While light from the sun takes several minutes to reach Earth, light from K2-18b’s star takes a century to reach our planet, “so for us to travel there is impossible,” he said. We’ll be gone, but the planet will still be here.4 million tons of carbon pollution annually, according to its 2018 figures, and its Mpumalanga plant at Secunda is the largest single-point CO 2 emitter on the planet.4 million tons of carbon pollution annually, according to its 2018 figures, and its Mpumalanga plant at Secunda is the largest single-point CO 2 emitter on the planet.

The good news? Once we’re extinct as a species, the forests will recover, the oceans will regenerate. So, don’t worry about the planet. Protest organiser Professor Vishwas Satgar of Wits University, who is collaborating with civil society group Co-operative and Policy Alternative Centre (Copac), said that for South Africa to meet its carbon emission reduction commitments, in keeping with the UN target to cut carbon pollution to zero by 2050 in order to stabilise global temperature increases to no more than 1. However, the discovery brings astronomers closer to answering the fundamental question of how unique Earth is in the universe, the scientists said.” Instead, we need to picture the lives of our children against the backdrop of the worst predictions for the 21 st and 22 nd centuries and consider pragmatic ways of adapting to stem not only our own ecological anxieties, but the collapse of a civilisation we’re handing to the babies born today. “ It’s pathetic that our children are protesting on the streets and doing what their parents should have done…We have to recognise the window is extremely small and it’s closing fast. This calls for a total shutdown of emitters like Sasol. We have to recognise that nature does not negotiate and we cannot change the science,” said Naidoo. “ We can’t talk about net-zero emissions by mid-century if Sasol stays in play,” Satgar said.

“But as we race to meet the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced, which is to secure a viable future for our children, we’re going to have fun, be optimistic and get creative. On Friday, protesters will call on Sasol to show how it intends supporting the company’s workers and other affected communities so it can exit the industry with a just transition plan.” If we get better at connecting the dots, we can transform our lives through counterintuitive thinking, he said. “ When I was in Europe, I discovered that cities like Uppsala in Sweden and Bristol in the UK run their buses on human faeces, so I refuse to accept that African shit is inferior to European shit. There is also a growing number of financial institutions – private banks and development finance institutions like the World Bank – who have adopted policies to no longer fund new investments in carbon polluting industries. We just have to get our shit together and turn the crisis of climate change into opportunity.” Of course, not everything needs to run on biogas. A n increase of 22,000% in five years, up from $52-billion in 2014, according to the report. A n increase of 22,000% in five years, up from $52-billion in 2014, according to the report.

Naidoo, formerly head of environmental group Greenpeace, told the audience he had no desire to “kill energy companies”, which were holding the world to ransom by “trying to find arguments that could extend the oil and gas industry right to the end of the next century”. He simply wanted them to transform into some form of clean energy.org. “I’d like to hold onto that position. However, given the resistance, inertia and dishonesty, as well as the falsification of the science, if needs be, we’d be best served by the collapse of the entire fossil-fuel industry.” Institutions moving out of fossil fuels include Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the British Medical Association, Amundi Asset Management, French public finance body Caisse des Dépôts, the cities of New York City and Cape Town, the German development bank KfW Group, Stockholm University, London’s Tate museums, and global asset manager and insurer Allianz.” For Robinson, the climate fight involves a three-step mantra “for all people of the world”: making the crisis personal by reducing individual consumption patterns; addressing anxiety by, for instance, supporting effective advocacy organisations; and being a “prisoner of hope”. According to Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) analyst Simon Nicholas, “Today, over 100 globally significant financial institutions have divested from thermal coal, including 40% of the top 40 global banks and 20 globally significant insurers.

This is a lesson, Robinson said, she took from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.” Mining corporations in South Africa are getting wind of the change, with some of the major players beginning to offload their coal assets. “ Imagine the world we are supposed to be hurrying towards by 2030. A much healthier world free of fossil fuel pollution; a more equal world, in which everyone has access to clean energy; and the world of solidarity, the world of deeper human relationships, that we need in order to get there. Australia-based mining company South32 is wrapping up the sale of its thermal coal assets in South Africa and has “recognised an impairment of US$502-million” based on local mining company Seriti Resources’ offer to buy these assets – showing dwindling faith in coal as a safe investment.” ‘ All journalism becomes climate journalism’ The brainchild of award-winning investigative journalist Kevin Bloom, Our Burning Planet in its first year published at least 100 climate articles, ranging from an analysis by leading commentators to investigations by in-house and freelance writers. “ In a very real way, as extreme weather events begin to break down infrastructure, cripple economies and cause mass migrations, all journalism becomes climate journalism,” said Bloom. Anglo and BHP are both considering divestment plans for their shareholdings, according to the report. Anglo and BHP are both considering divestment plans for their shareholdings, according to the report.

“The aim at Our Burning Planet is to draw these links, to use the power of narrative and deep reporting to show how it’s impossible for any human being alive today to be unaffected by climate and ecosystem collapse.” Our Burning Planet’s Leonie Joubert, who has authored books and articles on the crisis for the better part of two decades – including Scorched: South Africa’s Changing Climate – warned that we are “ three decades behind on the urgent action needed to throttle back the carbon pollution destabilising our climate. “ The struggle for climate justice is a struggle for fundamental human rights,” says Naidoo. This inertia has partly been driven by politicians and big corporations whose interests to stay elected or profiteer off their free access to atmospheric space have allowed business-as-usual exploitation of what should be a shared, common-good Earth system.” Joubert said the unit “is a chance to expose the corruption, political patronage and vested interests in our energy sector, which remains the single-biggest hurdle to South Africa – the continent’s biggest carbon emitter and the 14th biggest globally – from making the urgent transition to a low-carbon economy that it’s entirely capable of”. Their rights to health, water, food, housing and even life have been harmed. She noted that “climate change” was a “bland, sanitised term we once used to talk about the notion that carbon pollution could ‘tweak’ our climate a bit – it now looks as though the extent of this pollution could bring about an extinction-level event within our lifetime. Human rights and working towards clean renewable energy for all is at the forefront of the climate justice conversation.

It’s time to dial up the temperature on this conversation as never before.” There is a growing call internationally for carbon pollution to be recognised by the International Criminal Court as a crime against humanity, alongside other international crimes such as genocide, war crimes and the crime of aggression. It’s time to get angry.” Although news on the crisis hardly received priority in the press as little as 10 years ago, acute awareness of the phenomenon is increasingly affecting the public – to such an extent that the mental health industry now faces a whole new set of challenges: acute anxiety and depression brought on by , not only among those who dread our lack of preparedness, but those who are already hounded by the real-time fallout of biosphere breakdown. “ We need to find more ways to disrupt and hold to account fossil fuel companies and the governments who subsidise them,” she said. This, according to Bloom, is why Our Burning Planet ’s commitment is to seek radical solutions that match the scale of the planetary crossroads at which humans stand. “ In each piece we publish, we aim to report on at least one course of action — not to provide false or meaningless hope, but to outline a practical path to mitigation or adaptation,” Bloom added. “ Climate litigation is building, with a growing number of cases taking place around the world. “ Climate litigation is building, with a growing number of cases taking place around the world.

“ This series is also a chance to grapple with some of the ‘softer’ philosophical questions that keep us in a miasma of inaction: the values and world views that drive extractive capitalist consumption that now threatens the very life support system in which we evolved,” said Joubert. “ Our Burning Planet is also a chance to look at practical solutions to help build ‘airbags’ into our communities so that we can absorb the physical and political shocks that are going to come thick and fast: how we can restore natural systems to buffer against extreme weather; how we can use our veld and savannas to draw carbon out of the atmosphere; what indigenous knowledge resides in our collective memetic libraries to help us find ways to organise and respond as our political and economic systems begin to unravel and the climate becomes ever more unstable; and how we support coal workers to retain their livelihoods so that the handbrake-turn into a low carbon economy is just. Other effective ways of disruption are shareholder revolt and journalism.” Covering Climate Now .