World leaders are falling short again on delivering on their promises

One of the biggest issues that have been recognised, is that a similar route to prosperity is not open to the developing world. As Europe and north America developed their economy they emitted huge amounts of carbon – much of our power was created by burning coal.

In order to help developing countries jump this stage completely and move straight to renewables, the west had promised money. Developed countries had together committed to 72 billion a year to make this happen. While this sounds like a great deal, when you remember that without it, we are on course for devastating levels of global warming, it comes more into balance.

It was hoped that the G7 could boost this process in advance of Glasgow COP26. Given the G7 accounts for 60% of the worlds wealth, but its population accounts for only 10% of the global population, you would think that we could afford roughly 10 billion a year to be able to continue to live in a hospitable environment. Now of course, this is not all that we need to do – we also need to cut our own emissions to zero as fast as possible, however, there is much money to be made in this work.

The COVID epidemic has taken everyone’s attention off global warming. This is understandable, but we now need to refocus and make the changes that are required as quickly as possible.

Spike in illegal deforestation in the Virunga’s national park

Home to one of the two remaining populations of mountain gorillas as well as eastern lowland gorillas and chimpanzees. It is one of the best protected central African rainforest, yet satellite imagery shows significant amounts of deforestation.

In April last year, 12 Virunga rangers and 5 civilians were killed in clashes over this environmental destruction.

As in other places, the locals see little benefit from the park, rather they see large amounts of land that they have lost access to. Locals must benefit from the park, as well as efforts made to feed the local population

Man accidently grabbed by a whale

A lobster diver suddenly found himself in the mouth of a humpback whale.

Large whales on earth feed exclusively on small sea creatures, and have baleen sheets that stop larger creatures being swallowed.

As such after diving a distance, the whale surfaced and violently shook it’s head to empty it’s mouth, and the man was pulled back into his boat.

While episodes like this might happen from time to time, whales remain animals generally without any animus towards humans. They can not eat us, and now we are not exterminating them they do not fear us.

They are, however, very large and as such can accidently hurt people if they get too close

Re-emergence of sails?

Freight shipping has a huge carbon footprint. It is true that the carbon footprint is far lower than freight carried by air, however this does not help.

However, it is also true that these ships do not travel particularly fast. With the new kite sails designs where a kite with roughly 100 square meters area, and the ability to be flown above 100m – an area where the wind speeds and directions are far more reliable.

Kite freight ships are becoming a reality quick
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Students have protested at the Science museum in London over shell funding a climate crisis exhibition

It does seem to be rather self-serving, if you are putting together a exhibition on the threat that the climate crisis is producing, and you allow one of the biggest oil and gas companies in the world to fund it.

Much of the exhibition talks about carbon capture and storage (something that has not been demonstrated at significant scale, and yet would have to be catching billions of tonnes of carbon per year if it is to have a chance of helping) as well as nature based solutions.

The police cleared the building at the end of the day, ending what had been intended to be an overnight occupation.

It certainly seems that shell is trying to whitewash their company (should that be greenwash) and this should not be allowed. Rather, shell should be spending thousands of times more money on actually solving the climate crisis. Furthermore, ideas like carbon capture should not be allowed to be touted, until it has been demonstrated at scale. Finally, there is another problem. As far as the climate crisis is concerned, any captured carbon should be locked away for millions of years, yet at the moment the majority is either used to help with oil and gas extraction, or is turned into synthetic fuels – neither of these help in any way with forestalling the continued move towards run-away climate change.

SHELL MUST DO BETTER.

Oil fields of Botswana and Namibia threaten 130,000 elephants

While currently only exploratory, oil projects in the ecosystems of Namibia and Botswana potentially threaten the survival of 130,000 elephants – one of Africa’s last great wildernesses.

The Okavango delta from space. This exploration could destroy one of Africa’s last great wildernesses

The company ReconAfrica is going ahead with its search despite the threats. At the current time, there are roughly 450,000 elephants in Africa, but that is down from millions just a few short decades ago.

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Indigenous people of Peru have been living sustainably for 5000 years

There are often arguments, that indigenous people need to be removed in order to balance nature back out. It is true that in some wilderness areas, so called indigenous people have moved into wilderness areas within the last 50 years. These people should not be called indigenous or be given rights over the land that their parents seized.

As you can see, this village is deep in the forest, with little land cleared around it. Furthermore, the village is made from renewable resources, and if the village was abandoned, within a few years these houses would have disappeared for good,

On the other hand, there are tribes in the Amazonian rainforest (as in the Congo and other rainforests) that have lived largely identical lives for 5000 years. Whats more, there is little evidence of damage to the ecosystem throughout the fossil record.

We need to be careful, as we try to protect these wild areas, There is a big difference between modern humans moving into the forest and clearing land for crops, and indigenous people who have lived in harmony with the forest for millenia.

Indonesian government is still fighting to hide bad behaviour

In a judgement handed down in 2017, a court ruled that the Indonesian government must unveil their maps showing what land use has been decided where.

The government is still fighting.

It is odd that they are still fighting. In recent years there have been multiple problems where plantations have seemingly been given permission in areas that are also set aside for nature.

Continue reading “Indonesian government is still fighting to hide bad behaviour”

Could lakes become water deserts, devoid of life?

As water warms up, its ability to hold oxygen decreases. This is unfortunate for the plants and wildlife that live in these waters as they cannot survive without oxygen.

Unfortunately in a recent study it became clear that this is occurring in lakes around the world.

It is true that this impact is not being had at all levels of lakes to the same degree. Unfortunately, the majority water life is very depth sensitive and are uncapable of changing their habits to survive this change.

This is a new, and less considered threat of global warming. Unfortunately it could have significant negative effects on the world.

It is unfortunately possible that in the short term this is irreversible, it is merely one more signpost to require us to change our ways faster.

Solving the Climate crisis and biodiversity loss together

Yesterday I was writing about a series of dams that have collapsed in Brazil. We need to remember that there are two imminent threats that we are facing in the natural world.

  1. The world is warming. This is going to make life far harder for our children
  2. We are loosing much of the wilderness on the planet. Unfortunately we rely on this to survive in the long-term

We need to cut carbon emissions dramatically, we know as the human race that if we do not cut emissions dramatically and very fast, our planet will go through horrific change from the loss of the ice caps (and the resulting sea level rise) to the desertificion of large parts of the planet – some of this previously being rainforest.

If we cannot halt the loss of areas such as rainforests, the problem becomes even larger as we destroy one of our largest carbon sinks.

In the west, we have a responsibility to not only cut our own emissions to net zero in the space of a few decades, we must also help developing countries grow their own economies and increase the standard of living for their citizens without destroying what remains of the ecosystems that still exist.