Tag Archives: Climate Change

When I fell in love with the rainforest

This spring break I took a trip to Singapore and Malaysia.

While there, we went on a brief trip to the rain forest and I found it to be absolutely magical.

In light of all the sad environmental news lately, I think my boss, Sam, is right – it’s important to remember what we’re fighting for.

This world is a beautiful place!

Here’s some proof:

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Environmentalists love practicality

Coal plants and vehicle emissions polluting our air? Advocate for a switch to renewables and expanded public transit.

Mangos taste like cardboard in January? Pick a preserved or more seasonal fruit.

Beef industry polluting our water? Cut down on meat consumption.

200,000 gallons of oil a day pouring into the Gulf of Mexico from the sea floor? Take it as [yet another] a warning sign of our dangerous addiction to oil.

………………………………

No one likes a doomsayer, and I’m not trying to be one. But my morning news today certainly did nothing to cure the Monday morning blues.

Really, it makes me quite overwhelmed.

When we can’t pass a climate bill for the life of us and Sarah Palin takes this opportunity to advocate for increased domestic drilling, I get a little bit riled up.

[Deep breath.]

The only thing I can do now is remember that my choices make a difference, and hope that you remember this too.

I recall why I don’t mind living without air conditioning and can opt not to buy products that have too much packaging. I recall that biking this summer means fitness, extra cash in my pocket and it means that I think we can change our culture to rely less on our cars. It reminds me to be a voice for climate bills and renewable energy legislation and an advocate for responsible businesses.

So, today, I will advocate for a few things (this is as much a reminder to me as anyone else):

  1. Read the news. Be aware, and get freaked out because it’s motivating (once you pick your jaw up off the floor).
  2. Then read this. It made me feel better.
  3. Call your senator about the Climate Bill (won’t take more than 5 min and is super easy.)
  4. Pick a few things and stick to them. “10 ways to help the environment” lists are everywhere. But here’s one I like. (Annnnd here’s a vastly extended version.)
  5. Once you make the changes and save money, feel healthier, breathe better, and are happier as a result, tell your friends!

Get set, go.

-Jenny

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Climategate? Nuh-uh

First of all, check out the 15 inches of snow that were dumped on Madison last night! It’s hard to believe this all happened over the course of one day.

Anyway, this may no longer be as newsworthy as it once was, but with the Copenhagen Climate Talks going on and Sarah Palin’s silly column in the WaPo Wednesday, I feel as though I should shed some light on the situation pertaining to leaked emails from the Hadley Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at Britain’s University of East Anglia, which were hacked in late November.

Although I usually stay away from heavily science-intensive arguments in this space, I was lucky enough to have received a clear explanation of the situation in class and want to pass it along. This may be boring to some, but stick with me because it’s important – especially because the coverage of certain contents of these emails are masking the coverage of other important global warming news! This debacle needs to be addressed and the perpetrators reprimanded so we can all move on ASAP!

Here is the potentially damning quote found in the email that has people riled up:

“I’ve just completed Mike [Mann]‟s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” –Phil Jones, Climate Research Unit (this quote is taken from RealClimate and also the Washington Post.)

There are a few things to be said about this.

First and foremost: whether this is deceitful, falsified, untruthful or not, the importance of transparency is HUGE in climate science and these scientists were wrong to try to hide anything because inevitably, it will come out and mess everything up. No question about that.

Peter Kelemen addresses this more eloquently:

It is often said that no one should see the ugly reality of how politics or sausages are made. But that’s not true in the world of scientific research. Transparency is the goal, and in my experience it is also the norm.

Although I am not an expert, my professor Jack Williams is and he explained what Jones was talking about and why, as he says, this is “much ado about not much.” First off, the data in question has been replicated by numerous other groups, so even if some sort of tampering or “trickery” was done to this particular data set, it must be remembered that at least 6 other major studies have collected similar data with no evidence of such trickery.

The data in question has the blue box

Next, the word “trick” in this situation is too strong. The “hide the decline” part in this sentence has to do with a confusing aspect of dendroclimatology (a.k.a. tree ring analysis). Normally, in this method the thin and dense rings in a tree stump indicate stress (i.e. summertime/heat) and the distance between each darker ring can indicate when summer came that particular year. Because of this, scientists have been able to use tree rings to aid the climate data in pre-technological times. However, for a reason that is currently unknown, dendroclimatology has not maintained its adherence to the normal trend in similarity between the ring curve and temperature. In other words, since about 1960, while the temperature has risen, the tree rings do not reflect this as they once did, and now show a divergence.So, the “hide the decline” that was mentioned was merely the divergence in tree-ring data, not decline in temperatures.

Yes, I can see how this email would be upsetting to climate change deniers, but when explored, is not really all it’s cracked up to be. But, that’s not to say that these scientists were correct in excluding the rest of us on their intel in the matter. Additionally, many are left wondering, if dendroclimatology has failed us randomly since 1960, why do we use it at all? Scientist Michael Mann (mentioned in the quote) has a clear explanation of this, but the bottom line is, that even when it is used, it’s used in conjunction with many other data sets.

Kelemen goes on to explain the rest of the problem in a Popular Mechanics article that, if you have time, I (and Jack Williams) would really recommend! If you don’t have time, I think he explained the conundrum of climate scientists effectively, and I have included this important explanation below:

Climate Science Not a House of Cards

Perhaps the most worrisome part of this incident is that it could easily leave the public wondering about the science of human-induced global warming. But do the potentially unethical acts implied by these e-mails invalidate the hypothesis that human output of greenhouse gases, most notably CO2, creates a serious risk of rapid climate change? No.

Outspoken critics often portray climate science as a house of cards, built on a shaky edifice of limited data and broad suppositions. However, it’s more realistic to think of the science as a deck of cards, spread out, face up. Some data and interpretations of those data are more certain than others, of course. But pulling out one or two interpretations, or the results of a few scientists, does not change the overall picture. Take away two or three cards, and there are still 49 or 50 cards facing you.

The “house of cards” view results partly from the representation of human-induced climate change in opinion polls and in the press, which split the debate into “believers” and “skeptics.” This dichotomy is misleading for many reasons, particularly because it implies that those who are concerned about human-induced climate change believe every single claim made by every scientist on this topic, in the way that some fundamentalists claim to believe in the literal truth of every word in a religious text. Similarly, it implies that all skeptics doubt the entire theory.

In fact, most scientists are skeptics, to one extent or another, about climate science and almost everything else. Of course, there are a few who actually believe with complete certainty that they are right, and that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. These folks can’t conceive of the possibility that they could be mistaken; they really are like religious zealots. However, the genuine scientific skeptics greatly outnumber the true believers, and in most scientific debates the skeptics prevail … after a while.

Interested? Please read on.

Anyway, shame on those scientists, but shame on us for viewing the media uncritically on any controversial matter of such importance.

It’s time to wrap this one up, but here are some links for Copenhagen Day 3:

[but first, Sarah Palin’s column debunked]

Obama’s top aides arrive in Copenhagen

50/50 chance of meeting climate target?

Sorry for the late post!

-Jenny

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Updatenhagen

First of all, I love this from Joel Pett:

I can't find a full image credit. If anyone knows, please message me!

Next, today, the big news at Copenhagen seemed to be about the leaked document, which have been said to throw the conference into “disarray.” The Guardian describes the situation as such:

Developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN’s role in all future climate change negotiations.

The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.

While this fairness issue for economic development from developing countries is a constant argument, other (namely Grist, a leader in Copenhagen coverage) analysts don’t think this is as big of a deal as the Guardian cites it to be. In fact, they don’t think it’s a big deal (or deal) at all:

I’ve been told by folks on the ground in Copenhagen that negotiators say the supposedly new draft is actually an old draft that was leaked several weeks ago. There’s nothing new here; the Guardian seems to have been straight-up duped. For the most part the draft is boring and practical; it mainly seems to have pissed off the anti-World Bank crowd. Regardless, it’s an old draft, one of many documents floating around, and of no particular significance in and of itself—reflective of longstanding tensions among rich and poor countries, but not their cause.

also, Grist writer David Roberts chalks up the false hysteria to the place being overloaded with bored and anxious journalists who just need something, some “news” to write about. Everyone loves a good controversy.

Anyway, for some more links:

25 Reasons to Give a Damn

Copenhagen 101

More on the influence of the smaller countries

Also, a side note: Snow day tomorrow in Madison! Drive safe (or don’t drive) people!

Love,
Jenny

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Some thoughts and links

Hello,

Not that you’re not already busy enough, but I’ve been reading some really interesting things lately that I think are both important and enriching. No obligation to read any of these things, but in case you have an interest in expanding your environmental repertoire, read on.

Most importantly: the climate talks at Copenhagen are less than a month away. This is SO important for the future of climate legislation and the health of the globe. I found this great site, called Hopenhagen, to educate about the conference and provide a few ways to take action to ensure that the US is posed to take the strongest possible stance against climate change.

Next, I loved what Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx, had to say about climate change in this Grist Video. She called it an “extension of the civil rights movement.” How captivating.

For those already involved: What do you think about Adam Sacks’ article “We have met the deniers and they are us” Very provocative, infuriating, and most of all, scary.

I wrote to my ecology professor about this, and his answer was important, I think.

The article is largely because he finds it necessary to attack the small efforts people are making on climate change, while not really knowing the immense work being done worldwide to address it.  He is no doubt getting the attention he is seeking, but he is not helping us move forward in my opinion.  Driving his readers to guilt and frustration—which is what I believe his article does—is not a very effective way to intensify the needed response.

My immediate reaction was to call up on Google: “Global Warming: The Complete Briefing” — a book now in its 4th edition, by my friend and colleague John T. Houghton.  I suggest you do the same… Even checking out its description on Amazon.com (which will come up on Google) and looking over the reviews will remove most, and likely all of your frustration.

So, even though there is more that can be done, these negative words are not supporting or motivating, and therefore are not useful. (In my opinion, although I’d love to hear your thoughts.)

Finally, another thing on the mind is meat. It’s hard to think of the holidays without bringing images to mind of large family feasts. I was disappointed at Thanksgiving time, however, about the lack of conversation surrounding sustainable, local and organically-raised meats, instead of the supermarket, industrial variety. I think this season would be a great time to support a local farmer and take the time and few extra bucks to buy some of his or her meat for the holidays. What do you think? Here’s a list of some CSAs in the midwest that can get some of you started with this, called the Land Stewardship Project. (and here’s a national one)

Alright, I think that’s enough for now. I would love (and have wanted) to write more, but my school schedule has been very rigorous and exhausting lately! I had a great time celebrating thanksgiving with my family and friends and now the post-thanksgiving battle til winter break begins! (Hence, getting up at 5 to write a paper!)

Anyway, I hope all is well and sorry for being so intermittent.

Love,

Jenny

Also, I recently rediscovered my first video project ever. Although I’m not so sure remembering to turn off the lights will cut it anymore, this is definitely still fun to look back on!

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In case you’re still not sure

First of all, I’m sorry for such a long absence! ‘Twas season of travel, midterms and stress, but that’s now all in my past and I’m currently looking forward to a weekend of relaxing with my friend who goes to BU, Hannah Feder, and some silly-costumed celebration. Pictures to come!

Before all this, however, I had a very well-done and interesting lecture yesterday in my Global Warming Debate class that I can’t get off my mind and feel should be shared. Even though this is my blog full of my thoughts, I have to give COMPLETE credit for all the ideas in this post to my professor, Jack Williams, without whom I wouldn’t have these interesting insights and resources. So, thank you Jack.

Today, professor Williams spoke to those who, despite tons of green-climate-warming-eco hubbub still feel uneasy when they hear the occasional boisterous news reporter, columnist, or politician cite that global warming is one great big huge joke. In fact, in May, a Pew Research Center Poll was released which says that only 54% (down from 71%) of Americans believe that “the earth is getting warmer.” So what gives?

And what are we supposed to do with all this differing information?

“Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [>90% likely] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Summary for Policymakers, 2007

“Could it be that global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American People?” – Senator James Inhofe, Aug. 28 Senate Speech, 2003

Well, according to Williams, our best bet is to side with the scientists, which in this case overwhelmingly concur that the world is, in fact, warming as a result of human activities. Although we are unsure of what the future will hold as far as the impacts, how to stop it, how much it’ll cost, how long it’ll take to stop (there are a million other what-ifs), at this point the questions of “is the world warming” (yes) and “is it due to humans” (yes) are pretty much settled.

To expand on his point, he went through a series of points and myths that frequently come up in the media.

1. “There is no scientific consensus” or, “The IPCC does not represent the scientific community.”

The IPCC represents the most current and accurate work of hundreds of scientists that is rigorously reviewed by thousands of other scientists. To say that the IPCC is not a consensus is simply incorrect and is pitting the vocal minority against the vast majority on this issue.

In fact, Stanford professor Naomi Oreskes, in her essay, “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” reviewed 928 abstracts of peer reviewed literature with the phrase “global warming” and found that 75% of papers agreed with IPCC consensus (world is warming and humans are responsible), 25% took no position, and NO papers disagreed!

(if you want to read the essay, you may download it here.)

2. Next, he noted that there were a few names that continually come up in popular media regarding climate change skepticism whose credentials or science may be hazy or not within the scientific consensus, yet still receive a disproportionate amount of attention. Here are a few names to look out for:

1. S. Fred Singer

Credentials:  Director, Science and Environmental Policy Project, affiliated with Cato Institute (conservative think-tank).

Position:  world is warming –but due to natural variability (1500-year cycle)

2. Patrick Michaels

Credentials:  PhD Ecological Climatology UW Madison(!)  Professor of Environmental Science at U. Virginia, Former state climatologist for Virginia

Position:  The gamut… has backtracked over time… the world isn‟t warming, CO2 isn’t responsible, the warming will be small.

3. Timothy Ball

Credentials:  Former instructor at the University of Winnipeg.  Describes himself as “emeritus.”  Published 4 papers over his career

Position:  World has been cooling since 1998

4. Richard Lindzen (he’s the most credentialed of the group)

Credentials:  MIT Professor, widely recognized as bright guy.

Position:  World is warming –but negative feedbacks will stabilize system. The “Iris Hypothesis.” This is a reasonable theory, but there is no evidence for or against it at this time.

5. Arthur Robinson

Credentials:  Unclear, co-founded the “Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine”

Position:  world is warming but due to natural processes.

6. Sallie Baliunas

Credentials:  Astrophysicist at Harvard, scientist at George C. Marshall Institute (Conservative think tank)

Position:  world is warming but due to natural processes (solar)

7. Bjorn Lomborg

Credentials:  economist and statistician at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.  Known for The Skeptical Environmentalist and just-published “Cool It:  The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming.”

Position:  World is warming and we are responsible.  But costs/minimal risks don’t justify action.

8.George Will

Credentials:  Washington Post Columnist.

Position:  General suspicion of environmentalists; argues that recent warming has been minimal.

3. Next myth: “climate scientists aren’t listening to alternative viewpoints.” or, “Climate scientists are in it for the federal grant money”

While it is unlikely, there is truth to the fact that it cannot be disproved that climate scientists are or are not working for the money. However, the fact that they define themselves as scientists and not environmentalists says something. A scientists is someone who (usually) neutrally searches for information and truth about how the world works. If he or she says the world is warming: it is simply a reflection of their research. Williams said his findings have been that scientists are usually motivated first by curiosity second by fame and recognition, and that money is more of a means to an end for points one and two. An environmentalist, on the other hand, advocates for the cause and is more involved with social aspects.

It’s important to differentiate.

4. “Glaciers at location x have been advancing” or “temperatures at location x have been cooling.”

These are examples of cherrypicking data by location. There are hundreds of such examples. Yes, there have been glaciers that have advanced or temperatures that have cooled, but when compared with global averages and trends, the data overwhelmingly suggests these cooling situations are anomalous. Next time you hear that temperatures in the Sargasso Sea are relatively low or glaciers on Kilimenjaro are advancing, check out some other locations to see if this may serve as evidence about the global energy budget to dispute global warming, or if it’s just situational.

5. “1934 was the warmest year on record” or “The world has been cooling since 2000.”

These are examples of cherrypicking based on time window (and sometimes location). First, ’34 is closely tied for the warmest year on record for the US with 1998 and 2005, but for the globe, 1934 isn’t even close to even being in the top ten warmest days. You could say,

2008 was actually the coldest year of the decade, therefore things are cooling.”

Or, you could say, 2008 was the 9th warmest year on record and, 1998, 2005 and 2009 are the three warmest years on global record, and 8 of the last 10 years are in the top ten warmest years over a 150 year record.

There are many other claims (“the satellites show cooling,” “the supposed global warming is due to the Urban Heat Island Effect”….), but as with all the others listed here, this lecture taught me that just as when any other scientific claim is made, it’s important to check the reasoning behind it and the credentials of the writer/speaker/source of information. Maybe a scientists did publish a fact-based article about global warming, but if it was published in The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (as in the Sargasso Sea example) or one of writer George Will’s columns, it may be worth taking it with a grain of salt.

A misconception is that climate scientists are able to predict the future and think they’re never wrong. Yes, scientists have been wrong in the past and I don’t think there are many who claim to know what the future holds. But, there are many, many indicators that the world is, in fact, warming. So as a consumer of the media (or any non-scientific member of society) it’s important to be critical when you hear statements rejecting climate science. While it may be easier to hear, it won’t be easier to be unprepared and there’s no use in arguing about if the world is warming, when we have plenty of arguing to do about what to do about it! Plus, as I often argue in this bog, I believe that the changes to society that are made in an effort to curb global warming might actually end up improving our society, culture, communities, and lives on the whole.

What do you guys think about all this?

Have a great Halloween,

Jenny

P.S. Are you interested in learning more? Prof. Williams recommended these websites:

Grist skeptics page

Metoffice

realclimate.org

Sourcewatch

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We can only go up from here- SO LET’S!

It seems that the more I learn about the environment, the more depressed I tend to become. The list of things in need of “fixing” on this planet (chemical waste, mistreatment of workers here and in third world countries, government catering to big corporations, extinction, deforestation, pollution, landfills, incineration) can be described in many ways, but “short” is not one. Each year hundreds of scientists, agencies, researchers, and notably, the IPCC (though that isn’t yearly), come out with a report stating how bad-off our planet is and how we can’t possibly afford for it to get any worse. And then it does. So, I read and read and read all day long about this trend and this perpetual “brokenness” of so many things and then, occasionally I get a breath of relief.

I remember that the name for this blog is true and is possible. I remember that the people I’m surrounded by and learning from are good people, and that there are others who are inherently good too. I remember that although we may not know the best source of renewable energy or the best way to convince Americans to stop over consuming (or even understand what that means), we do have many tools to get things started, increase the conversation, make changes to our lives and in the lives of those we love, and improve our happiness, relationships, health, and planet by doing so. As I explained in my post a few posts back, we all can make real, beneficial change when it comes to the environment.

Since I am new at this and don’t always have the answers, I often look toward others who might. Colin Beavan is one dude whose writing I love to read and who really knows how to take the edge off climate-related fears by replacing fear with action. (Although this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn. In fact, to understand the base of my concerns for tonight in particular, you could watch this INCREDIBLE video and have even more incentive to read the rest of this post).

Anyway, he, with the help of some smart people at his non-profit, The No Impact Project, have created a great way to educate, inspire and mobilize many individuals in a practical and easy possible way. While Beavan improved his life during a years’ worth of living at no impact (or as little as possible), he has created a way for us amateurs to do it for just one week. While I don’t usually recommend recipes I haven’t tried or lend cars I haven’t driven, I have kept up with Beavan’s blogs and learned about his ideas enough to know that he’s got some really good ideas. So, I’m gonna vouch for this one and hope that you’ll join me in my No Impact Week coming up next Sunday, October 18th as a great, non-partisan way to do what you can. I bring it up now since you’ll want to plan and learn more, and they recommend that you sign up, download (but not print) their How-to Manual (which can also give you a better idea of what the week will look like than the video) and get ready to make the best of your week.

They realize that we can’t all make every change (No compost? No bike? That’s ok), but they provide helpful suggestions to doing the best we can to contribute, and they have organized it in a manner that will be easy to follow and informative. They have also strongly advocated for the personal benefits one can gain (as Beavan did) during such a “carbon cleanse.” Of the project, Beavan said,

“We hope that after focusing for just over a week on how our daily habits impact the world around them, our readers will see the effect our actions have in a new light. It will be very interactive and social – and empowering.”

Read more here

Or, watch this short clip to learn what the week is about:

If that’s not motivation enough, or if you’re like me and want to learn more about Beavan’s other genius ideas, look around his site. Here were some pages I enjoyed:

Colin’s How-To’s

The Frequently Asked Questions, especially these:

5. How will taking these small steps have any real impact on climate change?
Every small behavior change you make or every political action you take adds to a growing wave of change and influences your community to get on the ball!  Read more here.

6. Do I have to be a hippie, activist, granola eater to participate in the experiment?
No.  And that stereotype is so passe’.”

Top ten Eco-lifestyle Changes

Story of Stuff

I hope you’ll join me in discovering these benefits together!

-Jenny

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Deforestation and you

I just had a really interesting lecture in my “Global Warming Debate” class about deforestation.

My studies have always been much more closely aligned with the social aspects of environmentalism, but I have enjoyed the scientific perspective presented in this class and others this semester. As I have said many times before, I am continually surprised when I learn yet ANOTHER way to be involved with climate change mitigation efforts, so I thought I’d share this one with you. If food or sustainable agriculture isn’t your thing, maybe deforestation prevention will be.

Today, we had a guest lecturer, Lisa Naughton, who spoke to us about the underestimated impacts of deforestation, programs that are being implemented to combat it, and the surrounding debate. I wanted to present some of her ideas that were presented today because I think they’re important and were well-articulated.

We learned that deforestation accounts for 20-25% of annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions (more than natural gas…!!!) and that the deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia alone (two big tropical forest nations) roughly equals the amount of greenhouse gasses as ALL transportation emissions from one year. WOW. (More stats can be learned here, or a simple google search will help as well.)

Forest clearing has a big impact on greenhouse gas emissions due to the forests’ ability to absorb and store carbon (depending on the type of forest). So, when these natural carbon stores are eliminated, all this carbon is released into the atmosphere. Because of this, keeping these forests around has large implications for climate change prevention, not to mention that by keeping them we will also maintain biodiversity, prevent increased land use for industrial agriculture, maintain many cultural sites and artifacts, regulate regional rainfall, and improve water quality (and more).

Currently reforestation and restoration projects are the only methods that are approved by Kyoto to try to combat this issue. While this is helpful, efforts to reduce deforestation are not currently approved because it is harder to quantify and create tangible evidence on the results, despite the obvious benefits of such efforts (remember, the carbon storage).

Anyway, we were introduced to the concept of REDD: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, which is an initiative gaining support in the name of deforestation prevention. In the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, various advocates will support “REDD Readiness” and adding deforestation prevention to become a main focus of our environmental efforts as a “simple” way to reduce overall global emissions. For example, Norway, in it’s efforts to become the first carbon neutral country, has paid $1 BILLION to keep some rain forests around (I forget where). Effectively, we’re paying these nations not to utilize these natural resources for economic gain (or, for companies like Coca Cola to come in to grow citrus for Minute Maid juice as it proposed to do in Brazil).

BUT of course keeping the forests doesn’t fix everything.

Some critiques of this line of thought are:

1. It enables Americans to continue their polluting lifestyles and uses forests in faraway lands to further remove their concerns for combating climate change because something is “being done.” In other words, it reduces incentives to lower fossil fuel use.

2. Prevents potential economic stimulus of rain forest nations who may gain jobs from companies that come in to old forest lands, not to mention the rights of pre-standing local resource users.

3. The deforestation could just be displaced elsewhere, and it’s hard to track if that does happen.

4. What if a hurricane comes and wipes out the forest? Then the wood breaks down and all the carbon is released anyway.

5. Also, although the carbon storage is substantial, when compared to the emissions of industrial countries, it’s negligible.

So, while there are downsides to REDD, there are also many benefits, as long as the initiatives are well-planned with local residents and, importantly, as long as it is not viewed as a fix for climate change.

Anyway, I thought I’d share this because I never understood the basics and implications of deforestation and now I feel that I have a better handle on it thanks to Naughton.

Any campers/hikers/biodiversity lovers out there? Maybe deforestation is the “issue” for you!

-Jenny

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Obama’s Climate Speech

As part of the U.N. Summit on Climate Change, Obama gave a speech before U.N. today.

He said things like:

“Our generation’s response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it—boldly, swiftly, and together—we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe.”

“But the journey is long.  The journey is hard.  And we don’t have much time left to make it.  It is a journey that will require each of us to persevere through setback, and fight for every inch of progress, even when it comes in fits and starts.  So let us begin.  For if we are flexible and pragmatic; if we can resolve to work tirelessly in common effort, then we will achieve our common purpose:  a world that is safer, cleaner, and healthier than the one we found; and a future that is worthy of our children.”

and,

“Difficulty is no excuse for complacency.  Unease is no excuse for inaction.”

Here’s a transcript

Or, watch:

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