Former President Of Ireland: Urgent Need For Action on Climate Change

Mary Robinson quote
graphic: I Heart Climate Scientists


The recent extreme flooding in the UK and Ireland has highlighted the devastating effect our changing climate can have; but if we do not take action fast, future generations will experience weather shocks on a far greater scale. Our planet is warming to a catastrophic extent, and the human race must step up.

The divestment campaign – which originated in the United States and is now making its way across the Atlantic – is one shining example of what is needed to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Transforming our economic system to one based on low-carbon production and consumption can create inclusive sustainable development and reduce inequality. To achieve a just transition to a low-carbon economy, it is crucial that we invest in social protection, enhance workers’ skills for redeployment in a low-carbon economy, and promote access to sustainable development for all. Click here to read full article at

Related links:

Gwynne Dyer: It’s Abrupt Climate Change, Stupid.

Economist Arrested At Coal Protest: This Has To Stop, Our Window To Act On Climate Change Closing

13 protestors  were arrested during a day-long protest in White Rock, B.C. today that blocked coal trains from reaching port. Among the protestors was leading environmental economist and Simon Fraser University Professor Mark Jaccard, who issued this statement earlier this week:

This Saturday, May 5, at dawn I’m joining other British Columbians in White Rock at the pier to stop Burlington Northern Santa Fe coal trains from reaching our ports. Like others, I’m willing to engage in civil disobedience and risk arrest on Saturday to emphasize how important it is that we take urgent action to stop the actions that cause climate change.

The window of opportunity for avoiding a high risk of runaway, irreversible climate change is closing quickly. Within this decade we will either have steered away from disaster, or have locked ourselves onto a dangerous course. Our governments continue to ignore the warnings of scientists and push forward with policies that will accelerate the burning of fossil fuels. Private interests — coal, rail, oil, pipeline companies and the rest — continue to push their profit driven agenda, heedless of the impact on the rest of us.

This has to stop. We can’t comfort ourselves by thinking “if it were really that bad, government would do something about it.” It is that bad, and what government is doing in response is entirely inadequate.

Putting myself in a situation where I may be accused of civil disobedience is not something I have ever done before. It is not something I ever expected to be doing or wanted to do. But the current willingness of especially our federal government to brazenly take actions that ensure we cannot meet scientifically and economically sound greenhouse gas reduction targets for Canada and the planet leaves me with no alternative. I now ask myself how our children, when they look back decades from now, will have expected us to have acted today. When I think about that, I conclude that every sensible and sincere person, who cares about this planet and can see through lies and delusion motivated by money, should be doing what I and others are now prepared to do.

I pledge, along with everyone else taking part on Saturday, that my actions will be peaceful, non-violent and respectful of others. There will be no property damage. We will conduct ourselves in a safe, open and transparent manner. We are putting ourselves on the line Saturday because our future is at risk and we have to stand up for it.

Here is a 2007 interview with Dr. Jaccard and Jeffrey Simpson after the publication of their book, Hot Air, which they co-authored with Nic Rivers:



More links:

Coal Protestors Arrested In White Rock

Jaccard: Pipeline Not The Only Problem

B.C. Economist Blocks Coal Trains In White Rock

Stephen Hawking: Human-Caused Climate Change Dire Threat To Future Of World

Renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has stated that climate change stands alongside the use of nuclear weapons as one of the greatest threats posed to the future of the world. Speaking at the Royal Society in London in 2007, Professor Hawking said that we stand on the precipice of a second nuclear age and a period of exceptional climate change, both of which could destroy the planet as we know it. In his remarks, Hawking stated:

As we stand at the brink of a second nuclear age and a period of unprecedented climate change, scientists have a special responsibility, once again, to inform the public and to advise leaders about the perils that humanity faces…As scientists, we understand the dangers of nuclear weapons and their devastating effects, and we are learning how human activities and technologies are affecting climate systems in ways that may forever change life on Earth…

Lord Rees of Ludlow, president of the Royal Society, speaking at the same meeting, said humankind’s collective impacts on the biosphere, climate and oceans were unprecedented. These environmentally-driven threats ­ ‘threats without enemies’ ­ should loom as large in the political perspective as did the East-West political divide during the Cold War era.

The board of directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said the threat of nuclear apocalypse was now almost matched by the environmental threats posed by climate change:

“As in past deliberations, we have examined other human-made threats to civilisation. We have concluded the dangers posed by climate change are nearly as dire as those posed by nuclear weapons. The effects may be less dramatic in the short term than the destruction that could be wrought by nuclear explosions, but over the next three to four decades climate change could cause drastic harm.”

Read the full article here.

More links:

Hawking warns: We Must Recognize The Catastrophic Dangers of Climate Change

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: How Skepticism Became Denial (subscription required to read full article)

2010 is the Hottest Year Ever, With Climate Catastrophes Beginning

The evidence that humans are changing the world’s climate in devastating ways continues to mount, even as the skeptics try to bury that evidence with wild rhetoric and inflammatory politics. One just needs to read newspaper headlines to realize that the world is sliding towards climate catastrophe. And, like Nero who fiddled while Rome burned around him, our leaders are equally negligent and nonchalant, and history will judge them far more harshly than it does that incompetent emperor.  Here are just a few samples of the news recently:

From The Huffington Post,an article on the alarming year of warming that the world has experienced, This is the Hottest Year Ever, and The Climate Catastrophe has begun:

Thank god man-made global warming was proven to be a hoax. Just imagine what the world might have looked like now if those conspiring scientists had been telling the truth. No doubt NASA would be telling us that this year is now, so far, the hottest since humans began keeping records. The weather satellites would show that even when heat from the sun significantly dipped earlier this year, the world still got hotter. Russia’s vast forests would be burning to the ground in the fiercest drought they have ever seen, turning the air black in Moscow, killing 15,000 people, and forcing foreign embassies to evacuate. Because warm air holds more water vapor, the world’s storms would be hugely increasing in intensity and violence — drowning one fifth of Pakistan, and causing giant mudslides in China.

The world’s ice sheets would be sloughing off massive melting chunks four times the size of Manhattan. The cost of bread would be soaring across the world as heat shriveled the wheat crops. The increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be fizzing into the oceans, making them more acidic and so killing 40 percent of the phytoplankton that make up the irreplaceable base of the oceanic food chain. The denialists would be conceding at last that everything the climate scientists said would happen — with their pesky graphs and studies and computers — came to pass.

This is all happening today, except for that final step.  (Click here to read the full article).

From August 7, an article from Science Daily, “Greenland Calves Iceberg the Four Times The Size of Manhattan” and this one from August 15, “Antarctic Ice Thinning at an Alarming Rate“.

And from yesterday’s Globe and Mail, “On the bright side, the PM did say ‘climate change‘ ” is worth a read. Here’s an excerpt:

But a Canadian prime minister just can’t spend a week in the Far North and not say “climate change” at least once, painful as it must have been for Mr. Harper, because the principal reason for all this attention to that vast area is, well, climate change.

The ice there is melting and cracking under the assault of a warmer climate. During Mr. Harper’s visit, a huge chunk of ice, estimated to be the size of Bermuda, fell off the country’s largest remaining ice sheet, on Ellesmere Island.

Study after study has confirmed that the Arctic is warming even faster than had been predicted 10, five or even a few years ago. In other words, of all the places on the planet where the effects of human-induced warming are evident, the Canadian Arctic is among the most prominent.

What’s a gal (or a guy) who believes that it’s time to trust the scientists, and not the tea partiers, supposed to do? I don’t have any brilliant answers, but I know that for my children’s sake I’m going to “keep on keeping on”. I want to be able to look them in the eye 20 years from now and say that I did the best that I could to protect them from the climate crisis. Because the alternative, doing nothing, isn’t tolerable. As William Kamkwamba, the “boy who harnessed the wind” reminds us, “Trust yourself, and believe. Whatever happens, don’t ever give up.”

More links:

Message From Africa: Whatever Happens, Don’t Ever Give Up

Kick The Fossil Fuel