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Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn | Environment | The Guardian

Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn

Two separate studies confirm loss of ice sheet is inevitable, and will cause up to 4m of additional sea-level rise

The calving front of Thwaites Ice Shelf looking at the ice below the water's surface, Western Antarctica.The study honed in on the Thwaites glacier – the soft underbelly of the Antarctic ice sheet. Photograph: Jim Yungel/NASA

Suzanne Goldenberg

Monday 12 May 2014 12.30 EDT

The collapse of the WesternAntarctica ice sheet is already under way and is unstoppable, two separate teams of scientists said on Monday.

The glaciers’ retreat is being driven by climate change and is already causing sea-level rise at a much faster rate than scientists had anticipated.

The loss of the entire western Antarctica ice sheet could eventually cause up to 4 metres (13ft) of sea-level rise, devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world. But the researchers said that even though such a rise could not be stopped, it is still several centuries off, and potentially up to 1,000 years away.

The two studies, by Nasa and the University of Washington, looked at the ice sheets of western Antarctica over different periods of time.

The Nasa researchers focused on melting over the last 20 years, while the scientists at the University of Washington used computer modelling to look into the future of the western Antarctic ice sheet.

But both studies came to broadly similar conclusions – that the thinning and melting of the Antarctic ice sheet has begun and cannot be halted, even with drastic action to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

They also suggest that recent accumulation of ice in Antarctica was temporary.

“A large sector of the western Antarctic ice sheet has gone into a state of irreversible retreat. It has passed the point of no return,” Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at Nasa and the University of California, Irvine, told a conference call. “This retreat will have major consequences for sea level rise worldwide.”

The two studies between them suggest sea-level rise will be far greater than envisaged by the United Nations’ IPCC report earlier this year. The IPCC forecast on sea-level rise did not factor in the melting of the western Antarctica ice sheet.

The Nasa study, to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, studied the retreat of six glaciers in western Antarctica that are already the major drivers of global sea-level rise.

One of those glaciers, Pine Island, retreated 31km at its centre from 1992-2011. Rignot said all six glaciers together contained enough ice to add an additional 1.2m (4ft) to sea levels around the world.

In the University of Washington study, which will be published in the journal Science, researchers used detailed topography maps, airborne radar and computer modelling to reach greater certainty about the projected timeline of the ice sheet collapse.

The study honed in on the Thwaites glacier – a broad glacier that is part of the Amundsen Sea. Scientists have known for years that the Thwaites glacier is the soft underbelly of the Antarctic ice sheet, and first found that it was unstable decades ago.

The University of Washington researchers said that the fast-moving Thwaites glacier could be lost in a matter of centuries. The loss of that glacier alone would raise global sea level by nearly 2ft.

Thwaites also acts as a dam that holds back the rest of the ice sheet. Once Thwaites goes, researchers said, the remaining ice in the sheet could cause another 10 to 13ft (3-4m) of global sea-level rise.

Satellite view of Antarctica with the Thwaites glacier marked in red. Satellite view of Antarctica with the Thwaites glacier marked in red. Photograph: UIG/Getty Images

“The thinning we are seeing is not just some temporary trend. It is really the beginning of a larger scale collapse that is likely to play out over a two to 10-century range,” Ian Joughin, a University of Washington glaciologist, told The Guardian.

He said the retreat would begin slowly, resulting in sea-level rise of less than 1mm a year for a couple of hundred years. But “then boom, it just starts to really go,” Joughin said.

Even under the worst-case scenario currently envisaged, the collapse of the entire ice sheet is about 200 years off – and the collapse could be as far away as 1,000 years, depending on future warming.

But collapse is inevitable, the scientists said. Joughin put the most likely timeframe at between 200 and 500 years.

The two teams of scientists used airborne radar and satellites to map the layers of ice down to the sea bed, and to study the rate of glacier movement. The Nasa team also drew on observations stretching back 40 years.

Even so, Rignot said he was taken aback at how fast change was occurring.

“This system, whether Greenland or Antarctica, is changing on a faster time scale than we anticipated. We are discovering that every day,” Rignot said.

Scientists are also finding that the causes of the ice loss are highly complex – and that it is not just due to warmer temperatures causing surface melting of the ice.

Both papers said the contact between the glaciers and the relatively warmer water at the ocean depths was the main driver of the slow-motion collapse.

Rignot said that even drastic action to cut greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change could not prevent the collapse.

“We feel this is at the point where even if the ocean is not warming up, is not providing additional ocean heat, the system is in a sort of chain reaction that is unstoppable,” he told reporters on a conference call.

The only thing that could hold the glaciers back would be a large hill or big mountain that could block the retreat, Rignot said. But there is none, he said, “So we think it is not going to be stoppable.”

More on this story

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/12/western-antarctic-ice-sheet-collapse-has-already-begun-scientists-warn


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Ethical Enbridge? The real story of Line 9 and the tar sands giga-project | rabble.ca

Ethical Enbridge? The real story of Line 9 and the tar sands giga-project

By Dave Vasey Sakura Saunders Sonia Grant

| January 23, 2013 Ethical Enbridge? The real story of Line 9 and the tar sands giga-project

Change the conversation, support rabble.ca today.

Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal project has become a hot button issue in Ontario as Big Oil seeks to expand tar sands markets in the 401 corridor, the U.S. and potentially Europe. Line 9 runs from Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec, passing within 50 km of an estimated 9.1 million people, including 18 First Nation communities, and directly through 99 towns and cities. In true Orwellian language, the reversal is being sold to the public as a jobs-creating, low impact, and ‘ethical’ project. It is none of these things.

Early in the application process, Enbridge misled the public by promoting the Line 9 reversal as part of its $3.2 billion “Light Oil Market Access” initiative. Pressure by environmental groups clarified Enbridge’s intent to pump tar sands dilbit through Line 9. The early mistrust established by Enbridge foreshadows the ethical doublespeak the public is expected to embrace with the Line 9 reversal. Indeed, the tar sands giga-project is one of the most violent projects on Earth and the extraction of dirty fuel represents at once a blatant case of environmental racism, climate chaos, and ecological catastrophe.

Line 9 was built in 1976 and was designed to carry light crude oil. In July 2012, the National Energy Board (NEB) approved Enbridge’s application to reverse the flow of the pipeline from Sarnia to Westover, Ontario, and is currently reviewing Enbridge’s application to reverse the rest of the pipeline to Montreal. Crucially, the reversal isn’t about the direction of the pipeline flow, but its contents: Enbridge is now openly seeking approval to transport tar sands dilbit from Alberta through Line 9. This raises multiple flags.

First, Line 9 is a 37 years old pipeline and the risks of a spill are higher for dilbit pipelines (particularly old ones) as tar sands crude is more corrosive, and transported under higher heat and pressure. Moreover, if a spill occurs the impact of dilbit is more severe for health, water and land, as dilbit contains higher levels of toxic carcinogens, including naptha and benzene. In 2010, these risks were brought into sharp relief when Enbridge’s Line 6B (originally constructed to transport light crude in 1969) ruptured spilling 20,000 barrels of dilbit into the Kalamzoo River in Michigan, a disaster that continues to have devastating impacts on surrounding communities and ecosystems. Most importantly however is the question of ‘ethics’ and how the Canadian state is responding to the apparent human rights and environmental crisis created by tar sands expansion.

Debunking the jobs argument

A core argument to support the Line 9 reversal has been job creation. In general, job creation has not been the goal of Big Oil — instead the industry has strived towards mechanization and low-cost labour. The ‘jobs’ argument for tar sands creates a fictitious division between the economy and the environment, attempting to pit employment against health and environmental concerns.

(This is only the intro to the article-please read the full article at rabble.ca here http://www.rabble.ca/news/2013/01/mcethicaltm-enbridge-line-9-and-tar-sands-gigaproject#)


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Environmental Destruction Imminent – Harper government unloads a flurry of illegal and unconstitutional legislation [GROUNDED NEWS] 17.December.2012

the video site

via Grounded TV Network.

Environmental Destruction Imminent – Harper government unloads a flurry of illegal and unconstitutional legislation [GROUNDED NEWS] 17.December.2012

Native enbridge pipeline

photo by Ora Cogan

—PLEASE EMAIL TO FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND INTERNATIONAL NEWS GROUPS—

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has passed legislation to let China’s China National Offshore Oil Corporation buy to Nexen. This takeover deal among other things puts three to six billion barrels of tar sands oil in CNOOC’s hands, would create devastating global climate effects if CNOOC exploits Nexen’s reserves to their fullest extent.

Canada has also legally exited the Kyoto Protocol just today, as well as already removed the protection of over 2 million lakes and rivers – allowing tar sands development anywhere.

And the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) international treaty passed and can come into effect at any given moment without notice. CNOOC will be able to sue Canadian governments in tribunals if our governments do anything to counter its growing interests, including common sense environmental protections and job creation efforts. Keep in mind that more than 130 First Nations have signed the Save The Fraser Declaration banning Enbridge Pipeline in their territories.

And the most damaging piece of legislation is the omnibus Bill C-45, the Federal Government vacates jurisdiction over waters, parks, fisheries, etc – and no longer has the responsibility and duty to consult First Nations concerning land development as legally required in our Treaties. It also gives power to decide fate of individual First Nations – even in Treaty Territory.

These new bills (there are several more to come) legally strip us of our legally binding treaty rights, which the Canadian government has no legal jurisdiction to alter or change. Bill C-45 is an unconstitutional bill which illegally alters long standing treaties between our two sovereign nations, effectively ending them along with our sovereign nation status. Not only does this drastically affect First Nation’s people, it also directly affects all North Americans and future generations – causing irreparable damage to the environment and its inhabitants.

The Idle No More movement which protests these undemocratic changes has spread via social media, and has garnered around 80% sheer hatred toward us for ‘complaining about treaties and free money’ when we should be ‘working and paying taxes like everyone else’.

Even though we’ve tried to reason with some of these individuals by explaining the above information to them, most don’t change their views out of spite. So alerting the Canadian public to hopefully garner support to sway the bill is out of the question for us.

Bill C-45 receives Royal Assent on Monday, which could signal the last time I can email you anything regarding this (as it can be construed as illegal under the new FIPA treaty which can go in effect at any moment without notice, and my band could be sued and be forced to pay crippling fees for months).

I and my sovereign Nation are urgently asking for your help. We need your help to alert and inform the international community and bring in sanctions against the Harper government for these numerous illegal and unconstitutional attacks on our environment and sovereign nation… it’s our only hope to protect this great land and future generations.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” – Edmund Burke

Sincerely,

Dallas Courchene

References:

http://www.ccbc.com/2012/12/frequently-asked-questions-about-the-canada-china-fipa-for-canadian-investors-operating-in-china/
http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20121214/KAMLOOPS0303/121219905/-1/kamloops03/fearing-worst-if-fipa-signed-with-china
http://www.facebook.com/notes/robert-animikii-horton/breakin-it-down-here-are-some-of-the-new-bill-features-and-just-how-treaties-bre/10151195812301025
http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18535
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16165033
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/10/18/pol-navigable-waters-protection-budget-bill.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16165033
http://rabble.ca/columnists/2012/12/cnooc-nexen-takeover-china-plays-chess-harper-plays-checkers
http://www.timminspress.com/2012/12/14/protesting-for-a-voice-to-be-heard-in-ottawa
http://www.savethefraser.ca

Dallas Courchene has been working toward creating positive social renewal for First Nation’s people and Canadian society for over 10 years.

His suggestions on how to create prosperity for and empower the First Nation’s people inspired US Congressman Dennis Kucinich to invite Dallas to sit beside him and speak at the 1st International Round Table Supporting Ancient Indigenous Knowledge event in the May of 2010. His ideas and efforts have led him to other influential people such as Mark Victor Hansen (co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series), Virgin Mobile founder Richard Branson, and presidents of social renewal agencies internationally – testament to the impact and effectiveness of his forward-thinking perspective.

Dallas continues to find innovative ways to create prosperity for his people, and looks to bring positive change within the fabric of society.

http://getgrounded.tv/2012/12/environmental-destruction-imminent-harper-government-unloads-a-flurry-of-illegal-and-unconstitutional-legislation-grounded-news/


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Bill McKibben’s Math: Climate Change Hits Home (in a 22-City Tour) by Phil Aroneanu — YES! Magazine

Bill McKibben’s Math: Climate Change Hits Home (in a 22-City Tour) by Phil Aroneanu — YES! Magazine.

Bill McKibben’s Math: Climate Change Hits Home (in a 22-City Tour)
It shouldn’t take a hurricane to blow open the debate about climate change. But Sandy might help 350.org prove what’s at stake in a nationwide campaign to divest university endowments from the fossil fuel industry.
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by Phil Aroneanu
posted Nov 05, 2012

Flooded Bridge photo by Barry Yanowitz

Photo by Barry Yanowitz.

Phil Aroneanu is an organizer with 350.org

For two hours last Monday night, New York City got pummeled by Hurricane Sandy, along with much of the New Jersey and Connecticut coast. The windows started bowing and rattling with every gust, and rain pelted the glass sideways. Nobody was on the streets.

Sitting in our third-floor apartment in Brooklyn, my wife and I pretended to read our books and traded nervous looks each time a gust shook the hatch that leads up to our roof. I’d been following the reports closely, so I knew we weren’t in danger of getting flooded. But like many people around the world, I was glued to the white glow of my smartphone as my Twitter feed flooded with images of rising waters on the Jersey shore and in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Sitting in my apartment last week, it felt like all the work I had done over the past few years had come to naught—we’d failed in our mission of, and this was the beginning of the end.

That night, I finally understood what many of my friends in Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and countless other places on the planet must feel each time a massive typhoon or record flooding hits. Climate change finally hit home for me: I was experiencing it in my own house and on my own skin.

For the first time since 2009, when the United States Senate voted down an ill-fated climate bill, politicians seem to be connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change. New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo broke the election-year silence around the issue in a press conference just 36 hours after the storm passed, and Mayor Bloomberg trumpeted President Obama’s climate credentials in an endorsement the next day.

Times Square photo by 350.org

As Hurricane Sandy barrels down on the East Coast, a group of activists with 350.org unfurls a giant parachute banner.

Photo courtesy of 350.org.

“Climate change is a reality,” Cuomo said. “Extreme weather is a reality. It is a reality that we are vulnerable.”

It shouldn’t take a hurricane to blow open the debate about climate change. But sometimes—especially in politics—reality needs to bust in at gale force to push back the millions of dollars that fossil fuel companies have spent in a 20-year effort to strongarm, threaten, and lobby politicians to stay quiet about climate.

And yet, sitting in my apartment last week, I wasn’t thinking about climate science or politics. I was emotional: tired, raw, and defeated. It felt like all the work I had done with my colleagues at 350.org over the past few years had come to naught—we’d failed in our mission of warning the globe about climate catastrophe, and this was the beginning of the end. How could we possibly fight the fossil fuel companies who insist on dumping carbon into the atmosphere, blocking progress on clean energy, and warming the planet, when we’re busy recovering from the second “once-in-a-lifetime” storm in just two years?

As I watched people in my neighborhood pick themselves up, clear trash and branches off the sidewalks in front of their houses, and get back to work, my fatigue gave way to the fighting spirit that New Yorkers showed after 9/11—I was angry. Righteously angry.

It’s that fighting spirit that we’re bringing to Do the Math, 350.org’s 22-city tour that connects the dots between climate change, politics, and the fossil fuel industry.

taxicabs hurricane sandy by Dave S-555.jpg
What Climate-Driven Hurricane Sandy Teaches about Cooperation
It’s 3 a.m. and the wind’s howling. Do you know your neighbors?

In an effort to silence action on climate change, coal, oil, and gas companies have dumped more than $153 million into the 2012 presidential election alone. That’s a cynical move, as these companies already possess reserves of oil, gas, and coal that, if burned, would release five times the amount of carbon that the planet’s atmosphere can safely hold. It’s clear that the fossil fuel industry has become a rogue force—its business model is predicated on burning up the planet, and it consistently frustrates progress on clean energy.

In each of the 22 cities, 350.org and a whole crew of partners will kick off a campaign to divest University endowments from any stocks, bonds, and funds that include fossil fuel companies. It will echo the divestment effort of the 1980s that brought South Africa’s apartheid government to its knees. Student activists across the country are already sounding the alarm on fossil fuel investments, making the case that a Sandy-like future is no future at all. Folks from East Texas to the Pacific Northwest to New England are leaning into local and regional fossil fuel infrastructure campaigns, fighting tar sands pipelines and coal ports.

Fossil fuel companies have already increased the world’s temperature by one degree, and Hurricane Sandy, along with the wildfires, droughts, record heat, and floods of 2012, is the result. It’s time to fight back.

Phil Aroneanu wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. In, 2007 he co-founded the Step It Up campaign with a small group of students and author/activist Bill McKibben. In 2008, the group built on the success of Step It Up to launch the innovative 350.org. Phil currently serves as campaign director of 350.org.


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Ground under Fukushima Unit 4 sinking, structure on verge of complete collapse

I am reblogging this only to add that it is important not to be caught up in fear. The situation at fukushima has been dire from day one, and there are thousands more like it all over the world from the Deepwater Horizon diaster that is STILL leaking in the Gulf of Mexico near where I live, to the ongoing purposeful disasters like the tar sands or the belo monte dam(and James Bay, and many other similar projects) BUT, and this is a really BIG butt;-)

Even tho these things are bad now, even tho the pollution and destruction often SEEM insurmountable and end of the world-giving up is not an option!

We have the ability to turn things around and heal our world but we have to keep going to do it. We cannot give in to fear or despair any more than we can give in to denial.

In the year 1860 about 150 years ago, no one could have foreseen the world we have now. The very idea of the internet would have been impossible to explain. Cell phones, microwaves, nuclear submarines(ok Jules Verne did predict this one;-) and more significantly a global culture of connected humans who care about one another and work together in spite of corporations and corrupt government officials who want to continue to play at wars.

We already have many of the solutions to these problems from bioremediation of pollution (there are microbes that EAT oil, and mycelium that uses it as fuel and makes edible mushrooms!) to biochar carbon sequestration in the soil that increases soil fertility while mitigating global warming. Radiation is scary to most people but there are living organisms that thrive on it, so it is very very likely that we CAN find a way to resolve this one too.

I’m not suggesting we continue polluting with abandon or give up efforts to change things, only that while we change we must retain our joy and belief in a positive future in order to co-create it.


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Bolivia enacts Law of Mother Earth and GMO ban

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bolivia enacts Law of Mother Earth and GMO ban

Pachamama Law enacted and GMO ban in Bolivia!
Reposted from
http://www.eldeber.com.bo/nota.php?id=121015233320
Censored News
President Evo Morales enacted the Law of Mother Earth and Integral Development to Live Well. Morales issued the Law of Mother Earth in an emotional ceremony at the Palacio Quemado.The Law of Mother Earth and Integral Development to Live Well promulgated by President Evo Morales provides for the elimination of the concentration of landownership or landlordism and other components in the hands of landowners and companies, and prohibits the introduction, production, use, and release of genetically modified seeds in the country.

The most outstanding new rule also created the Public Defender System, Climate Justice Fund, which provides that public lands should be distributed to mostly women and indigenous peoples, and orders regulating foreign ownership and control of the property, access and use of the components of Mother Earth.
Ley elimina el latifundio y veta a los transgénicos
El presidente Evo Morales promulgó la Ley de la Madre Tierra y Desarrollo Integral para Vivir Bien. Crearán la Defensoría del Sistema y los sectores están sorprendidos
Henrry Ugarte A.
La ley de la Madre Tierra y Desarrollo Integral para Vivir Bien, promulgada por el presidente del Estado, Evo Morales, prevé la eliminación de la concentración de la propiedad de la tierra o latifundio y otros componentes en manos de propietarios agrarios y empresas, y prohíbe la introducción, producción, uso, liberación al medio y comercialización de semillas genéticamente modificadas en el territorio nacional.
En sus partes más sobresalientes la nueva norma también crea la Defensoría del Sistema, un Fondo de Justicia Climática, que establece que las tierras fiscales deben distribuirse con preferencia a mujeres y pueblos indígenas, y ordena la regulación y control de la extranjerización en la propiedad, acceso y aprovechamiento de los componentes de la Madre Tierra.
Mas, more
http://www.eldeber.com.bo/nota.php?id=121015233320

Posted by brendanorrell@gmail.com at 8:11 PM

http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/10/bolivia-enacts-law-of-mother-earth-and.html