Sunday, July 12, 2015

How Can We Make People Care About Climate Change?

Yale Environment 360
July 9, 2015

Per Espen Stoknes, a Norwegian psychologist and economist, has been doing a lot of thinking about a question that has bedeviled climate scientists for years: Why have humans so far failed to deal with the looming threat posed by climate change?

That question is the focus of his recent book, What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming, in which he analyzes what he calls the five psychological barriers that have made it difficult to deal realistically with the climate crisis. Those include: the distant nature of the problem (it’s far off in time and often in other parts of the globe); the Per Espen Stoknes doom-and-gloom scenarios about the impacts of climate change, which make people feel powerless to do anything about it; and the psychological defenses that people have to avoid feeling guilty about their own contributions to fossil fuel emissions. Read the whole story here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change

New York Times
June 18, 2015

Pope Francis on Thursday called for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change, blending a biting critique of consumerism and irresponsible development with a plea for swift and unified global action.

The vision that Francis outlined in a 184-page papal encyclical is sweeping in ambition and scope: He describes relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment and says apathy, the reckless pursuit of profits, excessive faith in technology and political shortsightedness are to blame.

The most vulnerable victims, he declares, are the world’s poorest people, who are being dislocated and disregarded.

Francis, the first pope from the developing world, used the encyclical — titled “Laudato Si’,” or “Praise Be to You” — to highlight the crisis posed by climate change. He places most of the blame on fossil fuels and human activity, while warning of an “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequence for all of us” if corrective action is not taken swiftly. Developed, industrialized countries were mostly responsible, he says, and are obligated to help poorer nations confront the crisis. Read the whole story here.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Petitioners oppose cruise pier

Cayman Compass
June 18, 2015
Protesters have gathered more than 1,000 signatures for a petition to prevent construction of a $150 million cruise pier in George Town harbor.
The petition, organized by photographer Courtney Platt, urges government to drop the plan following the findings of an environmental impact assessment which concluded that a large area of coral reef would be destroyed as a result of the project.
Mr. Platt said it would be a “fiasco” if government went ahead with the cruise pier given the level of destruction outlined in the report.
Mr. Platt acknowledged that a petition alone may not be enough to sway government against the plan, which is supported by some local businesses, including Kirk Freeport and Tortuga Rum Company, whose owners believe jobs depend on a new dock being built.
He believes a people’s referendum may ultimately be required to stop the project. Protesters would need to gather signatures from 25 percent of registered voters in the Cayman Islands to trigger a referendum.
Mr. Platt said, “There has to be another solution beyond destroying the reef and the visibility in the harbor.”
He believes the quaintness of a tender operation and the clarity of the water in the harbor actually add to the experience for cruise tourism visitors.
The petition states, “We truly respect the great deal of good intentions, expense in time and resources that have gone into preparing this long-awaited proposal, but we believe the long-term cost to the environment is too great for the relatively short-term gain. Read the whole story here.
If you'd like to read or sign the petition, click here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Global CO2 emissions 'stalled' in 2014

March 13, 2015

The growth in global carbon emissions stalled last year, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

It marks the first time in 40 years that annual CO2 emissions growth has remained stable, in the absence of a major economic crisis, the agency said.

Annual global emissions remained at 32 gigatonnes in 2014, unchanged from the previous year.

But the IEA warned that while the results were "encouraging", this was "no time for complacency". Read the whole story here.