Melting glaciers and rising temperatures are forming a potentially destructive combination in the deep ravines of Nepal’s Himalayan foothills, and the Phulping Bridge — on the Araniko Highway linking Kathmandu with the Chinese border — is a good place to see just how dangerous the pairing can be.
When Salahuddin Siregar started filming two farming families in a village on the edge of the Mount Merbabu forest in Central Java, he just wanted to document their daily lives.What he ended up with was “Negeri di Bawah Kabut” “The Land Beneath the Fog”, a documentary that examines the impact of climate change on the lives of real people trying to make a living and survive.“It started because I just wanted to make a documentary about their daily lives, as I had been living in [nearby] Yogyakarta for two years,” said the 33-year-old filmmaker.
If you aren’t vegetarian or vegan (and sometimes even if you are), ordering a veg-based meal at a restaurant can be downright intimidating. If you order the wrong thing, you may end up sending your meal back and contributing to the 34 million tons of food that is wasted in the U.S. each year.
To make matters even tougher, animal products could be hiding in one of many nooks and crannies in your meal – from beef stock-based sauces to bread glazed with egg.
So, what’s a novice vegan to do? Don’t fret, hungry greenie. Earth911 has you covered. Whether you’ve recently adopted a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle or you simply want to give it a try for a night, here are 10 questions to ask your server before choosing a veg-based meal
Abuse of the environment has created an ‘absolutely unprecedented’ emergency, say Blue Planet prizewinners.
Celebrated scientists and development thinkers today warn that civilisation is faced with a perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption and environmentally malign technologies.
If you are in the region and believe that businesses can drive action for the environment, this may be an great event to attend. See you there! Nadya
Shangri-La Hotel Jakarta, Indonesia
27 – 29 April 2011
B4E, Business for the Environment, is the world’s leading international conference for dialogue and business-driven action for the environment. Held in partnership with WWF and Global Initiatives, the Summit offers collaborative solutions to address the most urgent environmental and climate issues facing the world today.
Leaders from business, NGOs, international agencies and governments gather to discuss green investments, clean technologies and sustainable growth strategies. At the B4E Summit, delegates share and explore transformative solutions to tackle climate change and to protect and restore biodiversity and ecosystems. Partnerships are formed and commitments are made to accelerate the shift towards a more sustainable, low-carbon future.
via B4E Summit.
Yesterday, Green Kampong contributer Olivia Choong revealed that she had written to Andy Ho about his misleading article in last Friday’s (30 Oct) Straits Times. In response, he wrote, saying that she had “completely misread” him, and that “anytime (arguments against anthropogenic global warming is presented), …one gets emotional responses such as yours.”
He also exhorted her to “look at the science and not just the spewings of environmental groups… before crucifying someone who supports an opposite view”, completely missing Olivia’s point – that she was asking him to “look at the science” before coming up with an opposite view for the sake of one.
Julian L. Wong, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress adds his and the planet’s “emotional response” to Andy Ho’s column, and has given us permission to reproduce his letter to the Straits Times here:
Letter to the Editor, The Straits Times
November 2, 2009
Andy Ho relies on selective analysis, dubious science and false assertions in urging Singapore to resist action on climate change (Reasons for S’pore to be cool on global warming, ST Oct 30). In doing so, Mr. Ho single-handedly casts a pall over his own credibility as a science writer, compromises the integrity of the paper for which he writes for, and undermines the international standing of a country that wants to be, in the words of PM Lee Hsien Loong, a “responsible member of the international community” that should shoulders its “fair share of the collective global effort to reduce carbon emissions.”
Mr. Ho relies on a two-year old study by a certain Dr. Roy Spencer, who argues that climate change leads to upper atmosphere cloud interactions that in fact exert a cooling effect. “Current climate models do not factor in this cooling mechanism,” Mr. Ho concludes.
Conveniently, however, Mr. Ho ignores major new studies, including one published just this July in Science from Amy Clement and colleagues, which finds that the warming of the ocean leads to less low-lying clouds, which ordinarily block the sun’s rays and slows down global warming, leading to further ocean warming, and so on. In other words, ocean-cloud interactions lead to amplifying global warming feedbacks.
Mr. Ho also ignores a number of other amplifying feedback interactions such as the defrosting of the permafrost, destruction of tropical wetlands, and the decelerating growth of tropical forest trees, but to name a few. In fact, as Dr. Joe Romm writes in Climateprogress.org, “the best evidence is that the climate is now being driven by amplifying feedbacks,” rather than negative feedbacks like the one Spencer describes. This means that most climate models, which do not take into account these amplifying feedbacks, are probably underestimating the effects of global warming.
Mr. Ho fails disclose another fact. Roy Spencer is listed as a policy advisor to the Heartland Institute and a contributor the George Marshall Fund, two conservative U.S.-based think tanks that have a track record of spewing global warming-denial rhetoric and whose works have been backed by significant funding from Exxon-Mobil, according to sourcewatch.org.
There are other flaws in Mr. Ho’s analysis. He glorifies the antics of Chris Monckton, a climate science denier, but doesn’t mention he doesn’t have a science degree. He mentions the Oregon Petition that rejects the notion of human-caused global warming signed by over 9,000 “scientists”, while glossing over the detail that the initiative has been heavily criticized for shoddy signature collection, lack of verification of the credentials of signatories, and the duplication of listed signatories. He carelessly charges that the developing world would not agree to reduce their use of fossil fuels without regard for recent announcements by China, India, Brazil and Mexico among other developing countries to curb their emissions growth.
Mr. Ho urges Singapore not to be “bamboozled” by Western leaders to take climate action, but it seems that the real bamboozling is coming from another source.
Julian L. Wong
Senior Policy Analyst
Center for American Progress
Andy Ho from The Straits Times recently gave an interesting take on why Singapore should not commit to cutting its carbon emissions come 7 December 2009 at COP15.
In his commentary, Andy states that “9,209 scientists have signed up to www.petition-project.org to reject that global warming is caused by human activities “. He did not mention that a lot of those numbers are no longer current, since this petition was first active between the years of 1999 and 2001. It was only as recent as 2007 that the petition began recirculating, and many of the “scientists” are really PhD holders in mathematics, biology and medicine, and not climate science. In 2001, Scientific American did a random sampling on the “scientists” and found that some did not remember agreeing to it, some changed their minds about it, and one had since passed on.
Next, Andy brings up the case of Lord Christopher Monckton, who is said to be a former policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher. Monckton works for the Heartland Institute – a think-tank funded by ExxonMobil to the tune of at least US$791,000 since 1998 – as a “global warming expert”, Roy Spencer, who is later mentioned in the commentary, also has close links to Heartland Institute, even though he says he does not receive funding from oil companies.
The commentary also doesn’t at all highlight that Dr. Steenburgh, who is mentioned later in the article, said 97.4 percent of active climate scientists believe human activity is a significant factor to global warming.
There are more points that Andy has raised, but we will leave it up to you to decide how believable it is:
Reasons for Singapore to be cool on global warming
Emissions cap will slow growth while scientific evidence is not clear-cut
Andy Ho, Straits Times 30 Oct 09
A NEW global warming treaty is set to be signed in Copenhagen come December.
Singapore will face pressure from countries like Japan and Australia to be listed as an Annex I country, subject to carbon emissions caps. Revealing this at a student forum last week, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said Singapore would resist such attempts.
AnnexI comprises industrialised countries that have to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide) by 50per cent to 85per cent by 2050. Being an AnnexI country is only a small step away from a subset of AnnexII countries that have to transfer wealth to developing countries for the ‘climate debt’ the latter are owed.
Singapore is not listed on either annex. And it should stay that way. For one thing, it is not yet an OECD country. After all, a tiger economy is still part of the developing world. For another, as MM Lee argued, ‘it’s not possible to just treat (Singapore) like an ordinary country’.
While it has one of the world’s highest emissions per capita, he said, its fuel consumption cannot be cut drastically, as its manufacturing sector lives or dies by it. Much of its carbon emissions comes from manufacturing things for use in other countries, not domestically.
Anyway, as MM Lee once argued, Singapore’s diminutive size means its efforts make little difference to global warming.
In fact, there’s another good reason why the Republic should be slow to sign up to any emissions cap that could slow down the economy: The scientific evidence for and against global warming deserves a full and fair public hearing.
The 2007 consensus statement issued by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims the support of 2,500 scientists. That number actually includes those who disagreed with parts of it but had no say in the final text.
Climate science is not an exact one yet. In fact, 9,029 scientists have signed up at www.petitionproject.org to reject the notion that global warming is largely caused by human activities.
Climate change debate is thus often heated, with public challenges like the one issued in March 2007 by Lord Christopher Monckton, former policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher.
He took out big advertisements in The New York Times and Washington Post challenging Mr Al Gore to debate him. Mr Gore, who co-won with the IPCC the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his global warming evangelism, did not respond.
With the debate becoming politicised, a dispassionate, neutral forum like Parliament may provide a good platform for the issue to be aired in Singapore. This will educate Singaporeans and also forge a national consensus on the appropriate policies in response to global warming.
Singapore could look at the state of Utah in America, whose state legislators earlier this month invited two meteorologists with opposing views to brief them.
Summing up the consensus view, Dr Jim Steenburgh of the University of Utah said: ‘There is comprehensive evidence well-supported by the scientific community…that increases in greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the global warming…and that it is very unlikely that this warming is produced solely by natural processes.’
Conversely, Dr Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama-Huntsville testified that the consensus view arose from too many scientists fearing to rock the boat, even though the data they depended upon was limited. He argued that natural climate cycles, not human activities, cause climate variations, as 80per cent of the greenhouse effect is attributable not to carbon but water vapour and cloud cover. While low-level clouds provide shade and thus cooler temperatures, high-altitude clouds trap the sun’s infrared heat and thus warm up the earth.
In 2007, Dr Spencer published a study in Geophysical Research Letters using satellite images which showed that global warming leads to not more, but fewer, high-level, heat-trapping clouds. This allows more infrared heat to escape from the atmosphere into outer space, reducing global warming by 75per cent.
Received wisdom holds that warming of the earth’s surface causes water evaporation. More clouds form in the high altitudes. These trap heat and warm up the earth even more. But Dr Spencer showed that a natural cooling process exists in the upper atmosphere: Global warming leads to fewer of such clouds, so more heat escapes and cooling occurs instead.
Current climate models do not factor in this cooling mechanism. If this mechanism is verified with more empirical evidence, surely one must be circumspect about costly public policy decisions. Global emissions reduction will cost at least US$100billion (S$140billion) a year by 2020. In effect, the Copenhagen treaty promises carbon taxes for all.
In awarding President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize this year, the nominating committee’s citation said: ‘Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role’ in combating global warming. It also asserted that Mr Obama would ‘do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.’
This is patently false, since most people in the Group of 77 (G77) – including populous China and India – would not agree to reducing their use of fossil fuels. They want very much to industrialise because that will lead to material prosperity, just as it has done for the West.
Even in the US, a new Pew Research Centre poll shows that just over a third of voters – down from nearly half last year – now believe that it is human activities which cause global warming.
As December approaches, signs of fray are increasing. In Bangkok in early October, G-77 countries threatened to walk out if drafts leading to Copenhagen included binding commitments. On Oct22, India and China signed an accord to jointly fight off anticipated Western demands.
Western leaders may draft a treaty to manacle their countries. But Singapore should not be bamboozled into following suit.