Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Recognizing global warming is essential for our economies...

 David Suzuki Foundation
 July 10th, 2014
Those who don't outright deny the existence of human-caused global warming often argue we can't or shouldn't do anything about it because it would be too costly. Take Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who recently said, "No matter what they say, no country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country."
But in failing to act on global warming, many leaders are putting jobs and economic prosperity at risk, according to recent studies. It's suicidal, both economically and literally, to focus on the fossil fuel industry's limited, short-term economic benefits at the expense of long-term prosperity, human health and the natural systems, plants and animals that make our well-being and survival possible. Those who refuse to take climate change seriously are subjecting us to enormous economic risks and foregoing the numerous benefits that solutions would bring.

The World Bank — hardly a radical organization — is behind one study. While still viewing the problem and solutions through the lens of outmoded economic thinking, its report demolishes arguments made by the likes of Stephen Harper.

"Climate change poses a severe risk to global economic stability," said World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim in a news release, adding, "We believe it's possible to reduce emissions and deliver jobs and economic opportunity, while also cutting health care and energy costs."

Risky Business, a report by prominent U.S. Republicans and Democrats, concludes, "The U.S. economy faces significant risks from unmitigated climate change," especially in coastal regions and agricultural areas.

We're making the same mistake with climate change we made leading to the economic meltdown of 2008, according to Henry Paulson, who served as treasury secretary under George W. Bush and sponsored the U.S. bipartisan report with former hedge fund executive Thomas Steyer and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. "But climate change is a more intractable problem," he argued in the New York Times. "That means the decisions we're making today — to continue along a path that's almost entirely carbon-dependent — are locking us in for long-term consequences that we will not be able to change but only adapt to, at enormous cost."

Both studies recommend carbon pricing as one method to address the climate crisis, with the World Bank arguing for "regulations, taxes, and incentives to stimulate a shift to clean transportation, improved industrial energy efficiency, and more energy efficient buildings and appliances." 

Contrast that with Harper and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's recent mutual back-patting in Ottawa. Appearing oblivious to the reality of global warming and economic principles, both rejected the idea of a "job-killing carbon tax."

One Risky Business author, former Clinton treasury secretary Robert Rubin, also warned about the economic risks of relying on "stranded assets" — resources that must stay in the ground if we are to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, including much of the bitumen in Canada's tar sands.

In a commentary in Nature, a multidisciplinary group of economists, scientists and other experts called for a moratorium on all oil sands expansion and transportation projects such as pipelines because of what they described in a news release as the "failure to adequately address carbon emissions or the cumulative effect of multiple projects." They want "Canada and the United States to develop a joint North American road map for energy development that recognizes the true social and environmental costs of infrastructure projects as well as account for national and international commitments to reduce carbon emissions."

Those who fear or reject change are running out of excuses as humanity runs out of time. Pitting the natural environment against the human-invented economy and placing higher value on the latter is foolish. These reports show it's time to consign that false dichotomy to the same dustbin as other debunked and discredited rubbish spread by those who profit from sowing doubt and confusion about global warming.

"Climate inaction inflicts costs that escalate every day," World Bank Group vice-president Rachel Kyte said, adding its study "makes the case for actions that save lives, create jobs, grow economies and, at the same time, slow the rate of climate change. We place ourselves and our children at peril if we ignore these opportunities."

If our leaders can't comprehend that, let's find some who can.
By David Suzuki with contributions from Ian Hanington, Senior Editor
Read the full article here

Friday, July 11, 2014

Turtle Hatching begins on Little Cayman

Caymanian Compass
July 11, 2014

Little Cayman volunteers captured a rare moment on Saturday when they watched the first turtle nest hatching of the season. 

Volunteers with the Department of Environment’s Marine Turtle Research Conservation Program had been monitoring the nest as one of 30 on Little Cayman, and witnessed the last four turtles struggle out and make their way to the ocean.  
Volunteer and Southern Cross Club manager Jennifer Mills said although she has been a volunteer for 11 years, it was a rare opportunity to catch a hatching. 

“It was incredibly exciting because we watched the baby turtles take their first steps to the sea. To watch them go into the water - it’s a huge relief because you know they have at least made it that far and they have a long way to go,” Ms. Mills said. 

Read the full article here...

'Stingray City' comes to London!

Caymanian Compass
July 8, 2014

Cayman tourism marketing gurus brought a splash of color to gray London streets last week through a unique piece of 3-D artwork. The image of Stingray City was designed to give the illusion to passersby that the street beneath them had opened up, creating a window to the Caribbean Sea. The artwork shows snorkelers and scuba divers frolicking with gentle rays in clear turquoise waters. Painted on canvas, it was shuffled from one London landmark to another in a direct marketing campaign aimed at boosting travel to Cayman from the U.K. 

Bystanders were encouraged to kiss the rays and get seven years good luck.  

Read the full article here...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Under the Mistletoe: The Hunt for Dendropemon caymanensis

Cayman Islands Government
Department of Environment

July 9, 2014

The Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE) recently collaborated on a project with longtime partner Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (RGB Kew), UK, to locate a mysterious Mistletoe species Dendropemon caymanensis known to be located only on Little Cayman. There is very little known about this parasitic plant but records from botanist George Proctor, author of the “Flora of the Cayman Islands”, indicate that it is possibly located within the North Eastern interior of Little Cayman and is a parasite of the Headache Bush (Capparis cynophallophora) and the Black Candlewood (Erithalis fruticosa). No one has seen this plant since 1991 and there is no photographic record – just a single herbarium collection as proof of its existence.

In order to find this plant, the DOE and RGB Kew used a mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The UAV is a small flying machine with a camera; it weighs less than a kilogram (2 lbs) and is controlled by a sophisticated remote computer system. It takes aerial photographs on a pre-programmed course mapped out using a GPS coordinates. Read the whole story here.