In praise of China

China is not only doing R&D in technologies such as solar, wind & nuclear, it is also developing the legal framework to move to a sustainable society. This ties in well with the previous post Sustainability

‘My job is to clean up the environment. China really wants to do that’

Environmental lawyer James Thornton says China’s ‘ecological civilisation’ concept is the best response to the world’s environmental crisis

First invited to Beijing in 2014 to help implement China’s new law allowing NGOs to sue polluting companies for the first time, Thornton has seen how serious the world’s biggest polluter is about addressing its environmental problems. He believes their concept of “ecological civilisation” is the best formulation he’s heard for the new environmental story we must tell.

“Facing the ruin of their environment, the Chinese looked hard and amended their constitution. This core document now calls for the building of an ecological civilisation,” he says. “We built an agricultural, then an industrial, and now must build an ecological civilisation.”

“I have no cynicism about whether they mean to do it. My job is to try and clean up the environment for future generations. The Chinese really want to do that.” This task, apparently insurmountable for the west, is made possible by China’s 2,500-year tradition of centralised government.

How to deal with weather extremes

I know developments in virtual reality are big in the United States, but –

The Trump administration’s solution to climate change: ban the term

In real reality –

Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people

The new analysis assesses the impact of climate change on the deadly combination of heat and humidity, measured as the “wet bulb” temperature (WBT). Once this reaches 35C, the human body cannot cool itself by sweating and even fit people sitting in the shade will die within six hours.

Largest dead zone ever hits the Gulf of Mexico

While this year’s dead zone is record-shattering, it’s likely that these zones will only increase in size in the future, as climate change drives more intense precipitation and, in turn, more nutrient pollution. A recent study in Science found that increased precipitation from climate change would translate to a 19 percent increase in nitrogen — a nutrient found in both manure and agricultural fertilizer — in Americans rivers by the end of the century.

Are we being too timid in telling people how bad it might be?
The Uninhabitable Earth

It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today.

Worth a debate,
Or is it too late?
A Defense of Climate Tragedy, or What the Scientists Got Wrong about “The Uninhabitable Earth”

This is an essay about the furor over David Wallace-Wells’ New York Magazine article “The Uninhabitable Earth,” which conjures a specter of a planet so ruined by global warming in our children’s lifetimes that it no longer sustains, but destroys human life. By his own account, Wallace-Wells (DWW from here on out) wrote “The Uninhabitable Earth” to frighten people out of their complacency and to inspire them to clamor loudly for immediate action to halt climate change in its petrifying tracks.

Collective action

Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals

The email in my inbox last week offered thirty suggestions to green my office space: use reusable pens, redecorate with light colours, stop using the elevator.

Back at home, done huffing stairs, I could get on with other options: change my lightbulbs, buy local veggies, purchase eco-appliances, put a solar panel on my roof.

And a study released on Thursday claimed it had figured out the single best way to fight climate change: I could swear off ever having a child.

These pervasive exhortations to individual action — in corporate ads, school textbooks, and the campaigns of mainstream environmental groups, especially in the west — seem as natural as the air we breath. But we could hardly be worse-served.

While we busy ourselves greening our personal lives, fossil fuel corporations are rendering these efforts irrelevant. The breakdown of carbon emissions since 1988? A hundred companies alone are responsible for an astonishing 71 percent. You tinker with those pens or that panel; they go on torching the planet.

There were ten trillion plastic bottles strewn along the beach

There were ten trillion plastic bottles strewn along the beach
And if one plastic bottle’s accidentally swept into the sea
[make up you own line and send to Coca-Cola et al]

A million bottles a minute

And, after the bonfire of all those regulations that bind us in read tape:

UK risks becoming ‘dumping ground’ for plastic after Brexit

It’s official, I am sane

And, many other people who though this project ridiculous.

Spending watchdog condemns ‘risky and expensive’ Hinkley Point

Generations of British consumers have been locked into a “risky and expensive” project by the UK’s subsidy deal for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, according to a damning report by the spending watchdog.

Need I say more?

Eliminate competition to fake news (lies)

Donald Trump is to completely shut down one of the government’s most important data services

Since this story was first published, that message has been updated to read: “The data on this Web site will continue to be available on April 28, 2017”. The EPA also tweeted to say that the website wasn’t going anywhere and that it is “open, working and not going anywhere”, though it seemed to be experiencing occasional outages.

Let’s hope the information stays available.

A news cloud with a silver lining

The article needs no further comment.

2016’s year in charts shows that clean energy revolution is unstoppable.

Trump’s budget sabotages America’s best chance to add millions of high-wage jobs

China’s latest five-year energy budget invests $360 billion in renewable generation alone by 2020. Beijing calculates the resulting “employment will be more than 13 million people.”

Cost Reductions, US Department of Energy (DOE)
Cost Reductions, US Department of Energy (DOE)

The UK government should take note.